Dorchester is set to host hundreds of new housing units and hundreds of thousands of square feet of hotel, office, retail, and lab space as several major projects at once converge on Boston’s largest neighborhood by area. Here’s a map with the latest info.Read More
Dorchester’s big new developments, mapped
A handful of projects are set to add hundreds of housing units and hundreds of thousands of square feet of hotel, office, and retail space to Boston’s largest neighborhood
Washington Village in the Dorchester-South Boston borderlands will now have 214 apartments instead of 124 and seven buildings total instead of eight, according to a change that the Boston Planning and Development Agency approved in late January. The 214 apartments are due to be in one building instead of two.
Recall that a development team that includes prolific Boston builder Samuels & Associates has been planning Washington Village for several years. Construction has yet to start, though nearly all the properties that were on the 4.89-acre parcel—mostly one- to two-story industrial and commercial buildings—have been demolished.
The site also includes a former surface parking lot, making the planned development part of an ongoing trend in Boston of redeveloping such parcels.
Home2 Suites by Hilton
This 130-room extended-stay hotel with 77 parking spots is expected to open June 30, and will be adjacent to a Courtyard Marriott there.
It’s also part of a much larger development of part of that South Bay shopping center. A South Carolina-based developer is adding not only the Hilton2 Suites but 475 residential units, 120,000 square feet of retail, and a 60,000-square-foot movie theater. This is not to be confused with another developer’s plans for three buildings on 1.3 acres behind the mall.
And the new inn is part of a hotel-building boom that’s adding nearly 2,400 rooms to Boston and Cambridge.
Behind South Bay mall
A developer wants to replace what it describes as “underutilized and distressed properties” on 1.3 acres behind the South Bay Mall with buildings containing hundreds of homes as well as office and retail.
According to a letter of intent with the Boston Planning and Development Agency, plans call for some 239 housing units in a trio of “distinct buildings” totaling more than 208,000 square feet.
The units would include those for “compact-sized living,” a reference to a city pilot program that encourages small apartments on the theory that they’ll go for smaller rents and prices (condos are also part of the mix, per the letter).
The developer—an LLC controlled by a Boston attorney—would also improve the area’s streetscape with new and wider sidewalks as well as publicly accessible open space. There would be “neighborhood-serving retail” and office space too. More detailed plans are in the offing.
Old Bayside Expo site
The 20-acre site of the now-demolished Bayside Expo Center near the JFK/UMass Red Line stop could eventually host more than 3 million square feet of housing, retail, offices, and parks.
The University of Massachusetts leased the site in mid-2019 to developer Accordia Partners and its partner Ares Real Estate for $235 million, including $192 million as soon as the proposed project receives state and city approvals.
All reports indicate that Accordia’s plans are still in motion, though the developer intends to build roughly the same proportion of housing as commercial space, and wants to include parkland in any project to better connect different parts of Dorchester. Whatever happens, the development team is promising a “transformational project.”
The project would also be built with rising seal levels in mind and would include tens of millions in off-site transportation improvements. Things could take 10 years total to build out, after the necessary approvals.
75 Morrissey Boulevard
An affiliate of developer Center Court Partners plans to build towers of 15 and 17 stories the 2.23-acre site of the long-shuttered Channel 56 television studios (the parcel also includes 35-55 Morrissey). The developer had planned to build to 24 and 21 stories, but scaled those plans back late last year in part because of local opposition.
The buildings are due to host 608 apartments, according to plans filed in late January with the Boston Planning and Development Agency.
That’s the first phase. Center Court wants to fill out the adjacent 35-55 Morrissey with up to five new buildings with another 1,080 housing units, 86,500 square feet of shops and restaurants, and a 60,000-square-foot grocery store. There would also be around 1,000 parking spots and a new internal road to nearby I-93/the Southeast Expressway. The 35-55 Morrissey site includes a Star Market, a liquor store, and a building housing Beasley Broadcast radio stations.
The late January filing with the BPDA kicked off a months-long review of the 75 Morrissey plans.
UMass’ Columbia Point site
Some 10 acres of the University of Massachusetts’ Boston campus could be redeveloped, according to a request that the UMass Building Authority put out in early January.
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.
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.
Information from developers was due by February 19. The UMass Building Authority has not responded to a request for comment.
The conversion of the Boston Globe’s former Dorchester headquarters—seen here in the Oscar-winning movie Spotlight—could wrap as soon as early summer, according to lead developer Nordblom.
Work on the 16.5-acre site off Morrissey Boulevard, near the JFK/Umass and Savin Hill Red Line stops, has been underway since late 2018. It’s supposed to leave behind an approximately 695,000-square-foot development with some 360,000 square feet of office space and 300,000 square feet of flex-slash-light industrial-slash-lab space.
A craft brewery and a beer garden, as well as parking for 868 automobiles and 200 bikes, are part of the deal too.
There is one big question mark hanging over the project, however: tenants. Nordblom is currently seeking to fill not only the craft brewery space with a brewing company but the office-lab space as well.
What sorts of firms does the developer want? A clue is in the project’s name: Nordblom long ago dubbed it the BEAT—as in the Boston Exchange for Accelerated Technology (it’s also an homage to the Globe’s reporters, who decamped for new offices in downtown Boston in mid-2017, leaving behind the newspaper’s home of nearly six decades).
A Nordblom executive said during an early 2020 community meeting that 3D printing companies, a medical robotics lab, and architecture firms would be welcome additions. Basically, the developer has positioned the BEAT to compete with other tech-life sciences hubs such as Cambridge’s almighty Kendall Square and the emerging Exchange South End a couple of neighborhoods over.