Dorchester Bay City (nee Bayside Expo Ctr.) | Columbia Point

They should reopen the gaps in the median barrier of Columbia Road to allow left turns to/from the I-93 ramps. That would reduce the number of cars that have to use the rotary.
I was glad they would be redeveloping that area, but I also have to drive through that circle of death twice a day, and was also wondering how much more traffic the development would bring. I loathe the shows at the Expo Center. It truly is a poorly designed rotary, with people trying to get on 93 South (traffic light) in the evening and North in the morning...
There was a web site a while back that had ideas for redesigning certain interchanges/streets/off ramps for a better flow of traffic, along with T expansion ideas. They had one for this rotary but I think the web site has long been dead. I would have liked to have seen their idea debated (I think they added a second rotary but I really don't know what that would have accomplished).
I don't know why you'd need to "expand" the T here. Both branches of the Red Line already stop here, as well as the Old Colony commuter rail and a number of bus lines.
I wouldn't say anything needs 'expansion', everything you could need from the T is already there. Everything just needs to make more sense... especially for pedestrians.
The Herald said:
City plans Dot development zone
By Scott Van Voorhis | Wednesday, September 12, 2007 |

A wave of new development is poised to transform Dorchester?s long sleepy waterfront, prompting City Hall yesterday to announce a new master planning process for the area.

The Boston Redevelopment Authority will undertake an extensive survey of the area in a bid to create a ?comprehensive vision? for new development in the Columbia Point area.

City officials will examine everything from land use to transportation and urban design issues, while also looking to help coordinate several major public and private development initiatives under way in the area.

At the head of the development parade is a proposed, $1 billion redevelopment of the Bayside Expo Center, now largely covered by parking lots.

?There is a lot happening in this part of the city right now, and we have a unique opportunity to harness the momentum that is under way to bring about a positive transformation of Columbia Point,? Mayor Thomas M. Menino said in a statement.

Other major initiatives are also in the works. The University of Massachusetts at Boston is preparing to undertake a 25-year master plan of its harborside campus, while the MBTA has plans to sell off the development air-rights above the JFK/UMass station.

The master plan will examine a 412-acre area bounded by Dorchester Bay and Interstate 93. Along with the UMass and Bayside sites, it?s an area that includes other prominent institutions and businesses, including the John F. Kennedy Library and The Boston Globe.

?It is all very timely,? said Vivien Li, head of the Boston Harbor Association, of the city?s new planning process for Columbia Point. ?There is a lot going on
WTF?! Vivien Li again?!!

I hope this means they will at least study a fix to the cluskterfuck interchange.
From the Dorchester Reporter:

UMass campus concepts depict dramatic changes

A newly released document outlines a series of conceptual changes to the Dorchester campus, which could drastically change the look and feel of the current "fortress-like" footprint of UMass-Boston.
Alright, when I said huge oppurtunity I should have backed it up with some thought.

-Traffic Problems: No way they need all this space for residential. Use some of it to divert traffic (widen the street, pedestrian tunnels under the road to get to T stop, means uninterrupted flow of traffic). With a redevelopment, the state might put money into improving the rotary, the state polic may get involved, and and renovated T stop.

-Yuppie point: There is no fucking way you could possibly want to make this all-residential from a architectural point of view. Landscape that beach, get a dock going. Harbor Ferry stop? Make an entertainment stop, a more cosmopolitan, yet kind of 'yuppie' place (similar to the North Shore yacht clubs, only slightly urban and modern). Cinema, event center, shopping, hotel, central plaza for outdoor concerts in the summer, and have firepits and a few trees and gazebos with heating and enclosures for winter. Then, once all that is done, you can think about residential.

That pretty much covers what you were complaining about, Bobby Digital and some others.
Re: Bayside Expo Center Redevelopment

Corcoran Jennison presented preliminary drawings of their "Bayside on the Point" development last night to the community group. They're just sketches, nothing to get excited about at all. Think Station Landing in Medford, but just built three times in a row. (the BRA master planners even use a stock pic of Station Landing when explaining "mixed use")

They gave us all hand-outs with a web URL but the link is not live yet.

There is a CRUCIAL Master Planning meeting for all of Columbia Point on Saturday, June 14th where the community will "vision" what should be there in the future. I recommend everyone come! I have involved my neighbors and have a block of voices that are countering the "build low-rise affordable/subsidized housing no higher than two stories and we want 50% parkland" etc.

Boston College High School, 150 Morrissey Boulevard, Dorchester
Saturday June 14th - 9am-12pm

Take the T to JFK, you'll be surprised at the amazing opportunity here if you're not familiar with this site!
Re: Bayside Expo Center Redevelopment

Vivien Li was made an honorary member of the BSA this month. Expect her to become an even bigger busy-body in mucking up development.
Re: Bayside Expo Center Redevelopment

Well she's not all that bad...the Harborwalk is nice!
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Re: Bayside Expo Center Redevelopment

Nope, she's all bad.
Re: Bayside Expo Center Redevelopment

Has real urban potential.

If I were in Boston, I'd be there.
Re: Bayside Expo Center Redevelopment

The first ENF for this project has been filed. The plan is to build out the entire site in two phases. Phase 1 involves tearing down the Expo center and replacing it with 300 residential units, 250,000 sf of retail, and 105,000 sf of office space. The development will be built around a central boulevard style main street that is orinted with the JFK/Umass redline/ commuter rail stop. The plan is to have retail at the grround level with housing and offices above. The plan involves a large supermarket and retail establisment on the Mount Vernon Street side of the development.

The full build out includes adding 650 residential units in as many as 6 distinct buildings. These buildings will range in height from 1-21 stories. Most of the north and east sides of the propety will be kept as open space, adjacent to the DRC property.

The first phase is planned to get of the ground in September of 2010. The full build out is tentitivly sceduled to last between 4 and 8 years, depending on market conditions.
Re: Bayside Expo Center Redevelopment

Corcoran closing loop on Bayside redevelopment
by Michelle Hillman Boston Business Journal
Friday, August 1, 2008

The Bayside Expo & Conference Center will close next year, and if all goes as planned, it will be replaced by an initial wave of development that includes 250,000 square feet of retail space, 300 units of rental housing and 100,000 square feet of offices.

On June 30, Corcoran Jennison Cos., owner the 28-acre waterfront site, filed a development plan with the Boston Redevelopment Authority and has commenced public meetings to vet the plan?s first phase, a $300 million project on Columbia Point in Dorchester.

Corcoran?s initial plans call for the demolition of the 280,000-square-foot Bayside Expo Center and the preservation of an existing 125,000-square-foot office building on the site. The firm also expects to add 75 rooms and 10,0000 square feet of meeting space to the site?s 198-room Doubletree Club Hotel Boston.

Neighbors and community activists have already raised concerns about traffic and congestion at a public meeting hearing held July 21. The next meeting is scheduled for Aug. 4.

The project?s total cost will be approximately $700 million, said Jim Gribaudo, project director for Corcoran Jennison. Those estimates include the cost to construct an additional 650 residential units in as many as six buildings.

Bayside?s redevelopment was first announced last year after the center saw a significant drop in revenue ? some of it stemming from business gravitating to the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center.

Bayside?s bookings have dropped from 43 in 2006 to 19 this year. The Expo Center has seven shows booked next year, said Catherine O?Neill, director of community relations at Corcoran Jennison.

O?Neill said the Bayside will likely close in March 2009.

Gribaudo said he wants to secure the necessary permits before seeking financing. In order to fund construction projects today, lenders want evidence of signed leases ? something Gribaudo called a bit of a Catch-22 because tenants are unlikely to jump on board until projects are formally filed and approved.

Gribaudo hopes to lease 50,000 square feet of the retail space to a grocery store and is seeking two other anchor tenants to lease about 20,000 square feet apiece. The remainder of the retail space, about 180,000 square feet, will be leased to smaller retailers, such as a dry cleaner or coffee shop.

As Corcoran is moving ahead with its plans for Bayside Expo Center, the BRA is devising a master plan for Columbia Point, an area that comprises 412 acres along Dorchester Bay.

?It?s an extraordinary site, but you have to be considerate of that,? said BRA director John Palmieri, alluding to the area?s density, open space and water-access challenges.

Both Palmieri and Vivien Li, executive director of the Boston Harbor Association, described the Bayside Expo Center redevelopment as the creation of a ?new neighborhood.?

Li said she believed the project would complement many of the already-planned changes to the area, such as a proposal to add dorms to the University of Massachusetts-Boston campus and a plan to expand the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum.

?We think it?s absolutely crucial to tie together all the planning for the Dorchester waterfront,? she said.

Re: Bayside Expo Center Redevelopment

I don't think Corcoran/Jennison's plan is perfect, but it's a very solid and workable plan. New project web site here:

Public comment period is over on August 15th, so please e-mail a brief note of support to:

There is a loud contingent of people from the neighboring Harbor Point projects that want to see a lot of affordable housing here which would absolutely kill the entire development and make Columbia Point an isolated housing ghetto instead of a mixed-use waterfront destination.

Just a quick email in support of density and mixed-uses would be a help. I live in this neighborhood and have been very supportive of C/J's plan (no financial stake or anything like that in the project)

A quick e-mail would mean a lot:

Or a letter if that's more your style:

Jay Rourke
Boston Redevelopment Authority
One City Hall Square
Boston, MA 02201-1007
Re: Bayside Expo Center Redevelopment

There already is a lot of affordable housing in the area. It's called Medford. And Malden. And Quincy. And parts of Dorchester. And South Boston. And ...

If you want cheaper housing than that, I suggest you consider New Hampshire. Or, Alabama is nice, I hear.

Oh, I like the idea of rental housing, though. Probably not real cheap, though.
Re: Bayside Expo Center Redevelopment

From today's Salem News. These renovated buildings are in the poorest section of Salem, and probably not desirable to anyone other than those already living in that neighborhood, but a lesson learned with regard to affordability in the current day and age, which might be quite relevant to the Expo Center Development, Charlesview in Allston, etc.

Condos are on edge of foreclosure

By Tom Dalton
Staff writer

August 06, 2008 06:30 am

? SALEM ? The first sign of trouble came in December at a lottery to select the owners of some of the new Palmer Cove Condominiums.
There were 15 condos for sale, with three-bedrooms going for what appeared a bargain ? $189,900. When this project was conceived, an overflow crowd of applicants was expected.

Instead, there was just one.

"We knew it was a challenging market, but we didn't think the market would be that weak," said Michael Whelan, executive director of the Salem Harbor Community Development Corp., which had undertaken the affordable housing venture at 50 Palmer St. "One application was a shocker."

Seven months later, a home-ownership project that held out so much hope for the city's low-income Point neighborhood, where more than 80 percent of residents are renters, teeters on the edge of foreclosure.

A $2.2 million construction loan was due in June, and the Salem Harbor CDC, a nonprofit agency, has asked the city for permission to abandon the condo project and switch to rentals. That's the only way out of this financial mess, according to Whelan.

"The real estate market has collapsed out from under us," Bill Quinn, the agency's attorney, told the city's zoning board in June.

The failure of this condo project has been a great disappointment to the CDC and may be more of a loss to its lone applicant.

"It's heartbreaking for me," said Lucy Corchado, the former city councilor and lifetime Point resident who planned to move there with her three sons.

"Quite frankly, this was probably the only opportunity I had ? at least for now."

At a Board of Appeal meeting a few weeks ago, the CDC was met with long faces and hard questions.

"I'm really surprised that none of the (CDC's current tenants) or the neighbors expressed an interest in buying," said board member Annie Harris.

"So were we," Whelan said.

Whelan and his staff were criticized for not doing a better job of selling the condos, which were advertised for as little as $142,500.

"I think that you missed the boat by not hiring someone to market the property," said ZBA member Bonnie Belair.

The board declined to take action that night and continued the hearing until Aug. 27 to give the agency more time to explore options.
There are none, Whelan said.

The only way out, he said, is to rent Palmer Cove as affordable housing and to do it through low-income tax credits, which will allow the agency to repay the construction loan.

This condo project, he said, fell victim to the real estate bust, the credit crunch and tumbling condo prices across the city, which made this good deal less attractive.

Without a big economic incentive, this was a tough location to sell, he said.
"We've learned a lot about public perception," he said.

Whelan said it would be disingenuous to keep marketing this as condos and only misleading to the few buyers they might attract.

"I think we'd be acting in bad faith ..." he said. "We have a condo project we know will not succeed."

Corchado bristles when she hears that response.

"I think it's (bad faith) to expect people to support this and go back on the promise of the CDC to make this a home-ownership opportunity," she said.

Even if this winds up as a rental property, it is still a good project that will revitalize a corner of The Point, Whelan said. It would be much worse, he said, if it was sold by the bank and a new owner came in with no ties to the city.

"We either get the approval at the ZBA meeting or it's a disaster ? it's a foreclosure," he said.