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UMass wants a developer for 10 acres in Columbia Point

The project could create a new “front door” for UMass-Boston via a fresh avenue from the Red Line

An aerial view of several buildings next to a waterfront. Shutterstock

Some 10 acres of the University of Massachusetts’ Boston campus could be redeveloped, according to a request that the UMass Building Authority put out on January 10.

The request from private developers seeks information about what they would plant on the 10-acre site in Dorchester’s Columbia Point that includes the historic Calf Pasture Pumping Station and an adjacent lot. The station would have to be preserved under any development and UMass-Boston would retain its usage exclusively.

Everything else, though, could be up for grabs via a 99-year lease if the building authority likes any feedback it gets from developers. The deadline for builders to respond is February 19.

Meanwhile, speculation has already begun about what might fill the acreage. The building authority wants a mixed-use project, one that would serve as a new “front door” for UMass-Boston and that could include a new admissions center and a theater. The authority also reimagines Mount Vernon Street from the Red Line as a new route toward that front door, per the Dorchester Reporter’s Bill Forry.

Also, the building authority made clear in its request that the 10 acres falls within an opportunity zone, areas created by a two-year-old federal program and designed to incentivize development with longterm tax breaks.

Finally, UMass could end up cleaning up on any longterm lease with a developer. Boston land is extremely valuable after all. Almost a year ago, the system leased the old Bayside Expo Center that it owns to a developer for 99 years for $235 million total. That site could host more than 3 million square feet of housing, retail, offices, and parks.