Suffolk Downs Developers Give Presentation

Friday, February 23, 2018
By Sue Ellen Woodcock

Whether or not Amazon comes to Boston, the 161 acres at Suffolk Downs will be developed, and have a major impact on the surrounding communities.

Last Thursday night, representatives came to the Cottage Park Yacht Club for an informal presentation from HYM Investments about the development of Suffolk Downs, which lies in East Boston and Revere. HYM partner and director of development Doug Manz said the project doesn’t rely solely on the Amazon deal, and the property will be developed on a large scale.

Hosted by the Winthrop Chamber of Commerce and Robert Paul Properties, Manz gave an overview of what can be expected. Most notably that the project has a 20-25 year build out, and in essence creates a small community where people will live, work and recreate. The project will encourage walking and bicycling along with other transit-oriented development. Also to be developed, there will be two Blue Line stops Beachmont Square (including an innovation center) near Beachmont Station and Belle Isle Square at the Suffolk Downs T-station. Developers want to encourage economic development with neighborhood retail stores. He noted that there will also be numerous roof decks. He also added that they do not want to see any restaurant chains.

“This will be the front door of the development,” Manz said.

“It’s important for us to pay attention to what’s going on in East Boston and Revere,” said Stephen Hines of Robert Paul Properties to the audience of about 40 residents.

HYM Investments are also the creators of Bullfinch Crossing in Boston, North Point in East Cambridge and the New Balance building at Boston landing.

“We’ll also be keeping a (horse) racing element,” Manz said, keeping with the historical theme. “It will be a mixed-use development, very walkable, neighborhood feeling.”

There will be 40 acres of open space and eight acres of wetlands. Manz said they are also keenly aware of the impact of climate change on the property. There will be an amphitheater area that can handle flooding, as well as provide a venue for the public.

Manz acknowledged the concerns about traffic in the area. One attendee noted that there are 36 different intersections to be looked at.

“We will be doing a transportation study,” he said. “We will do a comprehensive study at the Suffolk Downs station, and I believe it is likely that we will have a shuttle station.”

Manz said any changes to plans will have to continue through a public process, and he and his partners are willing to come to Winthrop at any time.

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