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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Boston gives the green light for Dorchester Bay City plan

UMass+Boston+Bayside+Parking+Lot+sign.+Photo+by+Colin+Tsuboi%2F+Mass+Media+Staff.
Colin Tsuboi
UMass Boston Bayside Parking Lot sign. Photo by Colin Tsuboi/ Mass Media Staff.

The Boston Planning and Development Agency announced the go ahead for the construction of Dorchester’s Bay City project. Estimated to cost a total of $5 billion, the plans for the new city includes a 21 mixed-building design along Mount Vernon Street and Morrissey Boulevard. [1]

Roughly 6.1 million square feet of the area will be reserved for office, research and development spaces. There will also be space for housing and 3.5 acres of open green space, Boston.com and Dorchester Bay City report. It is estimated that the Dorchester Bay City project will take between 10 to 15 years to complete. [1,2]

The Bay Side City project has its own website where anyone can take a look at all the details and prospects of the plan and to see everything the finished product would have to offer. The project site is roughly 36 acres and is designed to “create a balanced neighborhood with a mix of uses that includes affordable housing and prioritizes an inclusive ground floor experience, new pedestrian and bike access, multiple open spaces with different programming opportunities, and flexible retail spaces to create opportunity and support small, local and MBE/WBE owned businesses,” according to the Dorchester Bay City website. [2]

Details for the Mount Vernon Street site of the project include 1,405 residential units, roughly 2.3 million square feet of office and research space, 146,500 square feet of retail and restaurant space and 13 development blocks. As for the Morrissey Boulevard site, the plan is similar, but on a smaller scale. Five hundred fifty two residential units will be added, along with roughly 1.6 million square feet of office and research space, 34,500 square feet retail and restaurant space and eight development blocks. [2] 

With the new housing plans being set, however, only 20 percent of the new apartments will be reserved for affordable housing. This only equals out to about 1,957 apartments. Community pushback on this city plan due to the lack of affordable housing has been made loud and clear since the start of this plan in 2019. Co-executive Director of the Asian American Resource Workshop Carolyn Chou wrote to Mayor Michelle Wu and the BPDA Director Arthur Jemison expressing her concerns. [1]

“The zoning code’s new [Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing] AFFH requirements are a major tool for the City and community to work together to combat injustices toward BIPOC residents and families,” Chou wrote, according to Boston.com. “I join many Dorchester residents and community members to call on you to enforce these requirements, and ensure that Dorchester Bay City includes more BIPOC residents and families rather than further the discrimination against them and fuel displacement.” [1]

A hearing regarding the countless housing concerns was held Thursday, Sept. 14, where several members of the South Boston and Dorchester communities urged the BPDA to delay the Bay City project until better affordable housing options can be discussed. [1]

One of the several community members and officials present at the hearing was the executive director of the housing advocacy organization Right To The City Boston, Vicki DiLorenzo. She expressed her fears about a vote before the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing provision was fully designated in the Bay City plan, and urged there to be more affordable housing in the project. “It makes the public question whether the city is really concerned about its own goals of achieving equity and affordable housing,” DiLorenzo told Boston.com. [1]

Several high authority figures are in favor of the Dorchester Bay City project, including City Councilor Michael Flaherty, officials from the Black Economic Council of Massachusetts, youth nonprofit Artists for Humanity, Boston College High School, and UMass Boston Chancellor Marcelo Suárez-Orozco. “As I think about the labs, and the research and development opportunities, I dream, I dream, of the internships, the mentorships … that my students, our students at UMass Boston would have the opportunity to access—opportunities that students across the river, at the other universities, take for granted,” Chancellor Suárez-Orozco told Boston.com. [1]

Official dates to break ground on for the Dorchester Bay City project have yet to be determined. 

Sources:

  1. Boston.com https://www.boston.com/news/the-boston-globe/2023/09/15/massive-dorchester-bay-city-project-gets-green-light-from-bpda/
  2. Dorchester Bay City Website https://www.baysideupdate.com/
About the Contributors
Samantha Beady, News Editor
Colin Tsuboi, Photographer