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

Re: Bayside Expo Center Redevelopment

I don't see how meeting the affordable housing quota should hurt this project in any way. The way to ensure that it is a 'mixed-use waterfront destination' is to have mixed uses -- some retail, some office, some recreational or cultural use along with the housing.

So some of my neighbors make $9,000 a year, some make $90,000, and some make $900,000 -- what difference does that make to me as a resident?
Re: Bayside Expo Center Redevelopment

My only qualm is that there is a HUGE concentration of affordable housing on Columbia Point already. I'm ok with the 15% mandate that Menino has pushed, but these activists want to see in the 25-33% range within the new development. This would result in a high, high concentration of government subsidized housing instead of a "mixed-income" neighborhood.

A neighbor of mine did the math - even if this new development had no government housing at all, Columbia Point would have 20% affordable rate - a good number as far as I'm concerned.

However, they are planning 15% affordable in this new development, which puts the overall subsidized rate on Columbia Point around 25%

That's 1 in 4 residents living in government housing. I'm ok with that, grudgingly, but going over that number would be a huge mistake. I want Columbia Point to be a luxury, waterfront destination - a tax generator to help the interior neighborhoods of Dorchester. A destination that makes people say "wow, I never knew Dorchester was so nice" and not just another shoddy, glorified housing project on the water that is best to be avoided.

Either way, getting rid of the Bayside Expo and replacing it with this is a good plan in my opinion. I hope if you agree you'll e-mail the BRA your support over the next week or so.
Re: Bayside Expo Center Redevelopment

Approx 10 years ago, a fairly long term market rate resident of Harbor Point once told me that officially about a 1/3 of the development was affordable housing. However, almost all the affordable housing units were large townhomes 3 or 4 bedrooms while the market rate units were often studio, 1 beds etc. He opined that the true overall population of Harbor Point was approx. 50% subsidized housing and many of those were former public housing tenants.

I have to agree with Pelhemhall on this one. Ron, I understand your point about having mixed income neighbors, but having heavy concentrations of poverty can have implications that are arguably harmful to the neighborhood.
Re: Bayside Expo Center Redevelopment

We go 'round and 'round on the affordable housing question on this Board.

Years ago, when asked what General Motors product he would recommend at an affordable price point, the infamous Roger Smith responded, "a two year old Buick." For which he was roundly laughed at. But Roger was right.

And it is also true of housing. "New affordable housing" is an oxymoron. New is expensive. SOMEONE has to pay for it.

This needn't disintegrate into a polarizing left-versus-right polarizing debate if we agree that 1) no developer is a charity, so the higher the percentage of the affordable mandate, the higher the likelihood that it never gets built - "market rate" units have to subsidize the "affordable units" 2) whatever your political philosophy, there is zero chance in this economic environment that government steps in to float the subsidy.

So what happens if it doesn't get built? It's not like the people who would have bought the "market rate" condos simply disappear. Indeed, some fraction of them will buy a condo in a gut renovation of a formerly-affordable 3 decker somewhere else in Dot or Southie! The former residents of that affordable building, though, are ultimately forced elsewhere ... perhaps to Lynn or Brockton. Perhaps they double up in another rental.

The economics of mandating a high percentage of affordable housing units on new developments is warped - essentially this imposes a tax on greenfield development that tips the balance toward converting existing affordable housing into condos.

The best way to create more affordable housing is to encourage a massive speculative overbuild - plenty of affordable housing in Vegas right now! Essentially the same thing happened in the South End in the 1870s, and the resulting wipe-out provided good affordable housing for generations - far more than the cumulative set asides have done in the last thirty years. The fact that some Dot developments have "gone rental" in the current slowdown have definitely helped keep the lid on rents. And there has been much more impact on Dot rents than on Back Bay rents.

As a city homeowner not a neighbor of Bayside, I think I "win" either way here. So stick it to 'em, Harbor Point residents! Insist on 50% affordable! If it doesn't get built, this helps keep the citywide supply of "market rate" units tight and increases my property value. On the other hand, if it does get built with a high percentage of "affordable" units, it further solidifies the reputation of that neighborhood (not mine) as low income, which will help maintain the value premium associated with property my neighborhood. What's not to like?

Now if Donald Trump lost his mind and decided to toss up ten fifty story luxury condo buildings closer to downtown, THAT would be a disaster for me ... while it might be fun to see the Donald lose his shirt, the value of 2BR condos in the South End that haven't been renovated in 20 years would plummet!

Ron, doesn't that bother you?
Re: Bayside Expo Center Redevelopment

I don't see how meeting the affordable housing quota should hurt this project in any way.

You have to realize that Columbia Point is SATURATED with affordable housing already. This location offers spectacular views, access to the harbor trail and bike trails, easy access to route 93, easy access to JFK/UMASS T stop and its adjacent to Carson Beach. Affordable housing is definitely needed in this city, but this neighborhood has done its part.
Re: Bayside Expo Center Redevelopment

But I think that the other units will be fairly high priced, meaning that still a majoirty of the poeple payed good money to live there. And if a neighborhood is majority rich with nice harbor views, it will be a nice safe area overall most likely.
Re: Bayside Expo Center Redevelopment

I thought it was "ten year old" Buick ... I quote it all the time.

I am a capitalist at heart, so why not give the new construction to those who can pay the most, and let those lower down on the income scale have not-as-nice homes? It seems to work otherwise. If it didn't, we'd be living in Weston.
Re: Bayside Expo Center Redevelopment

My problem is that there is legal government-subsidized housing projects and programs and then there is just old, cheap, inexpensive housing.

Dorchester has plenty of the latter. A 3-BR apartment for $1,000 may not be legally defined as "affordable housing" in government terminology because they are available on the free market, but they are affordable housing as any human would define it. So to say Dorchester needs more "affordable housing" is only true depending on your definition of the term "affordable housing"

It angers me because I was in the artistic trade when I graduated from college, made no money at all, but since I was white and college-educated, I couldn't get "government affordable housing" all I could get was "shitty affordable housing"

Back to the point - this is a luxurious, waterfront setting, straddling a sandy beach, tons of parkland, and directly on I-93 and the Red Line. Throw in some great restaurants and retail, and you have a truly wonderful destination. Buyt inundate it with government housing projects, and Dorchester will miss its big chance to make a statement with its waterfront. It'll just be more of the same old Dorchester.
Re: Bayside Expo Center Redevelopment


Please support this project! It's in my back yard and the Dorchester community really needs a shot-in-the-arm like this to help revitalize the neighborhoods around this area.

I'm posting this here and on the "events" board because tomorrow is the final date.

There is a movement at the Harbor Point housing projects to ask the BRA to include up to 33% government-subsidized housing in this site!

Ridiculous for a waterfront setting. Dorchester gets pushed around a lot, and we deserve something to be really proud of.

Granted, this proposal ain't gonna win any awards, but it's a nice, solid proposal for a working-class neighborhood. is the developer's web site

Please comment/support the project!
Re: Bayside Expo Center Redevelopment

I don't think I would ever live there. Columbia Point (i think that's what it's called) is so dangerous. I dont see how the project could hurt, the financier knows this going in.
Re: Bayside Expo Center Redevelopment

Columbia Point is dangerous? In 2008? How so?
Re: Bayside Expo Center Redevelopment

I think Columbia point is more of the purse snatchin, B&E into cars, drug dealing, jump you for your wallet type place, its not really the stray bullet sorta thing.
Re: Bayside Expo Center Redevelopment

Columbia Point ceased to exist in the mid eighties. Since 1988 it has been known as Harbor Point. Two-thirds of the development is market rate housing. It enjoys a good reputation, and it has a very low crime rate. As usual, some of you ladies are being hysterical.
Re: Bayside Expo Center Redevelopment

As I said before, I had a buddy who lived in Harbor Point fka Columbia Point for a few years in the mid to late 90's. I would often visit. The market rate tenants were located in the taller towers which were controlled by limited access locked entry doors at the lobby level.

The place had what appeared to be a very large, active and visible private security force. At nighttime in mild weather the place was teeming with unsupervised kids loitering in the streets, often late into the night or early morning hours. My friend told me there was a fair amount of tension between some members of the subsidized community and the management. Specifically, that they (or their kids) were subject to constant aggressive harrassment by the security force. I don't recall hearing of any incidents of serious violent crime, but it was no mayberry at night. The whole complex felt to me like it was being supervised at a level just shy of a prison camp.

I also remember being surprised by the high number of out-of-state license plates on cars parked in the parking lots of market rate buildings. I think a good amount of the market rate tenants were people from outside of the Boston area where relatively reasonable rents coupled with "amenities" hard to find in Boston appealed to them, e.g. new construction, air conditioning, renovated kitchens, free nearby parking, etc., and a location fairly near central Boston. This complex probably feels more like home if your moving to Boston from Dallas or Denver, compared to the astronomical rent of a 3rd floor walk up "older-style" or "cozy" apartment in the Back Bay or the South End. Perhaps it helped that many transplants were unaware of the stigma of the Columbia Point Housing Projects as well. Btw this pretty much sums up my friend. He was an out-of-state transplant who liked air conditioning and having a nearby place to park his car. He had no interest in taking evening strolls around Harbor Point and wasn't the type who enjoyed or cared about living in a typical vibrant Boston neighborhood. For the money, the complex suited him just fine.
Re: Bayside Expo Center Redevelopment

hahaha, i was one of those "unsupervised kids loitering in the streets" (if by kid you mean teenager) at night in the late nineties. I didn't find it dangerous (naive maybe?) and it was certainly interesting.

Along the Harbor Point waterfront was the first and only time anybody's ever shown me a potato canon.
Re: Bayside Expo Center Redevelopment

I don't think I would ever live there. Columbia Point (i think that's what it's called) is so dangerous. I dont see how the project could hurt, the financier knows this going in.

When I was in high school, I used to volunteer tutor a couple of kids at the Dever School there, around 1971, I guess. There was alot going on, fires, riots, race hatred, shootings, stabbings, robberies.

Columbia Point, like Fidelis Way and others, was built to house WW2 veterans and their new families while they were getting on their feet. (Think Ralph Cramden and Alice, and you've got the picture.) Leaders weren't willing or able to cope with the historic migration from the south. I'm guessing that alot of people who moved in were country folks who didn't know what they were getting into. Well, others have probably analyzed it better than I can.

I wish it well, and hope that it creates jobs.
Re: Bayside Expo Center Redevelopment

Columbia Point ceased to exist in the mid eighties. Since 1988 it has been known as Harbor Point. Two-thirds of the development is market rate housing. It enjoys a good reputation, and it has a very low crime rate. As usual, some of you ladies are being hysterical.

The head of UMASS Boston recently made a stupid comment (for an educated person with such a position) about all the shootings over there and as it turns out there have been 3 shootings in the last 10 years... 2 were security people who shot themselves accidentally.
Re: Bayside Expo Center Redevelopment

^^^^ Sounds like the third one was when he shot himself in the foot.
Re: Bayside Expo Center Redevelopment

Bayside proposal generates feedback in BRA review

By Pete Stidman
News Editor

Jay Rourke, project manager for the Boston Redevelopment Authority, is sifting through letters from civic leaders, local residents and city and state agencies this month, trying to create a new checklist of things Corcoran Jennison should study or consider altering about their Bayside re-development proposal on Columbia Point.

Corcoran Jennison is the developer of a proposed vast new shopping and rental-apartment complex on the 28-acre site of the Bayside Expo Center. The redevelopment effort includes hundreds of shops, rental apartments and parking lots where the Columbia Point exposition hall now stands.

Among the letters submitted to the BRA is a call for expanding the amount of open space to around 10 acres from the city and the state, a call for greater detail on green building features from the city's environmental department, and a call for more information on just about everything from UNITE HERE!'s Local 26 hotel union.

Just how they re-shape the project, if at all, will be a test of each party's clout, and of the willingness of the BRA to sway the developer of one of the largest developable plots in the city.

"We are disappointed with the general lack of open space and recreational resources for new residents," said Boston Parks and Recreation Department spokeswoman Mary Hines, adding that the department will have to approve the project.

For every 1000 residents, five acres of open space are requested by the department's Open Space Impact Assessment, explains the Park Department's Aldo Ghirin in his letter to the BRA. The Bayside development, he estimates, will bring 1,700 new residents or more to the area, thus requiring nine or 10 acres of open space. The open space the project does have, he continues, sits among parking lots and roads and is more decorative in nature than recreational.

"This underserved demand will likely cause these new residents to seek active recreation resources, including those of nearby environmental justice communities," he wrote.

Ghirin's open space call was echoed by the state's Economic and Environmental Affairs secretary Ian Bowles, who also asked Corcoran Jennison to examine the possibility of eliminating the easement across the Department of Conservation and Recreation property that accesses Day Boulevard near Carson's Beach. Bowles requested the project provide a single Environmental Impact Report to the state, reserving the right to ask for a supplemental one if the first is not adequate.

The prize for most comprehensive letter may go to the city of Boston's environment department, signed by director Bryan Glascock. In it he questions more than 14 different points in the developer's assessment of its own LEED points, a green-building standard the city now requires all new large projects to live up to. Gloasock also gives detailed advice on transportation modes and energy efficiency, and even goes so far as to suggest fitting out the buildings with the infrastructure to support renewable energy generation such as photo-voltaics or wind-turbines.

Glascock said the mayor is fully behind enforcing the green standards but added that the incentive to go green is also reinforced by the free market.

"We're seeing a lot of projects going the pipeline that are going LEED Silver or Gold certified, because they see that as a marketing advantage," he said.

Lastly, among the dozens of letters was also a nine-page message from the UNITE HERE! Local 26 Boston Hotel Workers Union criticizing the developer's lack of coordination with the Columbia Point Master Plan, lack of detail in everything from building heights to wind analysis, several problems with the project's traffic mitigation plan and a need for more information about how family-oriented the development would be.

Janice Loux, the union's president, did not return several phone calls and messages for comment, but Catherine O'Neill did confirm that the Doubletree Hotel&emdash;which will expand by 78 new rooms in the project - does not currently have a labor union for its workers.

In a statement, O'Neill said that Corcoran Jennison "greatly values" all of the input the project has generated and noted that most feedback has been "overwhelmingly positive."

"In fact, the questions we hear time after time are: 'When are you really getting going on this?' 'When will it be done?' and 'How do I sign up for an apartment? We can't wait.'"

O'Neill added: "Well, the answer is: neither can we. We look forward to continuing this dialogue and process which we believe greatly benefits our project. And we want everyone to know that we look forward to hearing from them anytime they have questions or comments."