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
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