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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

New Development in Columbia Point

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As of fall 2012, development is underway. Herb Chambers, a car dealer, has permission to begin building a new business in the area. Developer Synergy Investments will build a 278-unit building at 25 Morrissey Boulevard, currently an open field between a Shaw’s supermarket (also on land owned by Synergy) and the JFK/UMass station. Corcoran Jennison Companies, builder of the Harbor Point and Peninsula housing communities, plans to build an additional apartment 170-unit complex called “University Place” on the parking lot of their Mount Vernon Street offices.

 

 

 

The Columbia Point Master Plan, published in June 2011 by the Boston Redevelopment Authority and signed by Mayor Thomas M. Menino, is the result of three years of planning carried out by an appointed task force in coordination with the Columbia Point and Dorchester communities. The plan outlines development priorities like attracting new businesses and lowering the number of empty lots.

As of fall 2012, development is underway. Herb Chambers, a car dealer, has permission to begin building a new business in the area. Developer Synergy Investments will build a 278-unit building at 25 Morrissey Boulevard, currently an open field between a Shaw’s supermarket (also on land owned by Synergy) and the JFK/UMass station. Corcoran Jennison Companies, builder of the Harbor Point and Peninsula housing communities, plans to build an additional 170-unit apartment complex called “University Place” on the parking lot of their Mount Vernon Street offices.

Neither of the two new apartment complexes are being marketed to UMass Boston students. Sean McReynolds, Project Director of Development at Corcoran Jennison, explained. “We know that Umass Boston is planning to build its own dorms.”

However, McReynolds thought students would end up having an have an impact on businesses built in University Place’s first-floor commercial space. “Given the foot traffic… walking to the school,” he believed that student business would “be a driver” to success for any restaurant in the building. When asked what sort of businesses students might frequent, he said “hopefully neighborhood retail…maybe a pizza parlor.”

The written Columbia Point Master Plan also calls for “several new parks,” and “a redesigned Morrissey Boulevard…flanked by dedicated pedestrian and bicycle paths.” The writers of the plan suggest constructing new streets in order to ease congestion in the traffic circle near the JFK/UMass train station, and new walkways and bike racks along the section of the Harborwalk located near the UMass Boston campus.

Despite the presence of important institutions, such as the JFK Library, the Boston Globe, the Massachusetts State Archives, and UMass Boston, the neighborhood of Columbia Point has never been considered among Boston’s more desirable places to live. There are few neighborhood businesses, few pedestrians and fewer bikers.

Isolated from the rest of Boston and even the rest of Dorchester, Columbia Point is known mostly for its history of violent crime. In the 1970s, ambulances refused to enter without a police escort, and the notorious Columbia Point housing project was not demolished until the mid-1980s. The Columbia Point Master Plan is the most recent of several attempts by the BRA to revitalize the neighborhood.

McReynolds felt that “Columbia Point is needing redevelopment of some sort.” He added that it would be ”an exciting change for the community and the neighborhood to finally put the master plan into reality.”