Suffolk Downs Advisory Board Learns About the Ins and Outs of the Project

Members of the Suffolk Downs Advisory Board for the City of Revere have held several meetings, including one last Wednesday night at Suffolk Downs, to learn about all the nuances of the future development at Suffolk Downs.

“This presentation is sort of like Suffolk Downs 101,” said Tom O’Brien, head of HYM Investments, owners of 161-acre site covering East Boston and a chunk of Revere.

During each meeting for the project, which will come with or without Amazon, board members go over details of the plan, ranging from 7,500 housing units planned to an innovation center and a link between Beachmont Square and the old Suffolk Down MBTA-Stop (which will become Belle Isle Square).

“The T-stations will be out the front door,” O’Brien said.

Last week the board learned about potential commercial uses, potential residential uses, civic/cultural/community uses, phasing, demolition schedules and the impact on municipal services such as education, public safety and infrastructure.

The next meeting on July 25 will address transportation issues and opportunities. The topic of the Aug. 8 meeting will be the planned use development process and the Aug. 22 will tackle planned use development refinement based on a community meeting.

Part of the development near Beachmont Square will include a 130,000 square-foot hotel on par with those in the Seaport District in Boston.

City Councillor George Rotondo stressed that the project use union labor, something O’Brien did not disagree with. He said other projects they have done included women, people of color, under-represented groups, etc.

“We’re well-practiced at doing that in Boston,” O’Brien said. “It creates no burden for us to do that in Revere and we do that on a voluntary basis.”

The housing and potential impact on the school system are another area of local interest. O’Brien said there will be senior housing for those over 55, as well as one and two-bedroom units, either apartments or condominiums.

He doesn’t expect the school-age population to have much impact on the schools with estimates being about 70 students.

“Revere has a really strong school system, but it doesn’t have much in the area of commercial development,” O’Brien said. “The way the Massachusetts tax structure is set up for municipalities you must have commercial office space, you must have commercial structures in order to achieve the kind of growth to get to the point where you can build schools. What we’re doing here is transformative, we’re not only building a new community, and we’re going to create an opportunity to create new revenues. If I could this conversation gets pushed to the future and I think the discussion around schools will come easier when you have the revenue.”

The project would take 15-20 years to build out and there can be adjustments made over time.

Condominiums are expected to make up 31 percent of the housing, 58 percent of the total housing will be rental apartments and senior housing will account for the rest.

“We’re not going to do three-bedroom apartment units,” O’Brien said.

“We are never going to sit here and overpromise something we can’t deliver,” O’Brien said. “We bought this site because we knew we could make a significant dent in housing.”

O’Brien noted that the region hasn’t built housing as the same pace of job growth.

“To me it’s troublesome we are not building for families,” said Vanny Hout, a resident of Ward 2. “We are talking about building for people coming in and not folks who already live here. I think we need more to embrace and allow for families.”

Members of the Advisory Committee include:

Domenic Alimonti, Resident

Ron Champoux, Revere Beautification Committee

Sylvia Chiang, Massachusetts General Hospital/Revere Cares

Ed Deveau, Chamber of Commerce

Kathleen Heiser, Beachmont Improvement Committee

Thomas Henneberry, Resident

Vanny Huot, Resident

Lauren Laidlaw, Revere Beach Partnership

Aklog Limeneh, Planning Board

Dan Maguire, Resident

Rafael Mares, Resident

Mathew Marotta, Resident

Deb McHattan, Conservation Commission

Joanne McKenna, City Councillor, Ward 1

Ira Novoselsky, City Councillor, Ward 2

Daniel Rizzo, City Councillor At-Large

Billy Rogers, Construction Engineer

George Rotondo, City Councillor At-Large

Emma Schnur, Metropolitan Area Planning Council

Spiros Stogiannis, Resident

Frank Stringi, Chair of the Project Review Committee

Carol Tye, School Committee

Gerry Visconti, School Committee

Ex-Officio Members

Mayor Brian M. Arrigo

Council President Jessica A. Giannino

State Representative RoseLee Vincent

State Senator Joseph A. Boncore

House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo

Members of the HYM Development Team

Tom O’Brien, Managing Director

Doug Manz, Partner/Director of Development

Michael Barowsky, Project Manager

Brian Hochleutner, Project Attorney

Dino DiFronzo, Community Liaison

 

City of Revere Staff

Robert A. Marra Jr., Chief of Staff, Office of the Mayor

Nicholas Romano, Aide, Office of the Mayor

Linda DeMaio, Administrative Assistant, Office of the Mayor

Deb Peczka, Administrative Assistant, Office of the Mayor

Tech Leng, City Planner

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