The Revere City Council voted by a 10-1 margin to give the go-ahead to the proposed 161-acre development project at Suffolk Downs, with 40 percent to be developed on the Revere portion and 60 percent on the East Boston portion of the land.
Councillor-at-Large Dan Rizzo cast the lone ‘no’ vote at Monday’s Council meeting.
The vote follows a professional, 18-month process during which Tom O’Brien, founding partner and managing director for The HYM Investment Group, and HYM representatives held numerous public meetings with Revere officials and community groups.
O’Brien said he was pleased with the Council’s positive vote for the redevelopment project that includes condominiums and apartments, retail and office spaces, a hotel, an Innovation Center, bicycle trails, and recreational areas.
“We’re pleased that the vast majority of the City Council approved this project,” said O’Brien. “We’ve worked very closely with Mayor [Brian] Arrigo’s Office and with all the city councillors to create something that we think is really special for the site. The City Council has been a great partner with us. It’s a great milestone and we’re really excited. The next step is to move forward with the design and break ground as quickly as we can.”
O’Brien said the project will cost “multiple billions of dollars” across the entire site. He said an official groundbreaking for the first phase of the project [that will be built all in Revere] could take place in the latter half of 2019.
“The first phase consists of a 200-room, high-end brand hotel, a 35,000 square foot Innovation Center, approximately 80,000 square feet of retail – restaurants and small shops and things like that, and approximately 1,000 units of housing,” said O’Brien.
The project, upon its completion of all phases, will generate $47 million in total tax revenue for the city of Revere.
Council President Jessica Giannino said she was looking forward to seeing the project come to fruition.
“The City of Revere needs mixed-use projects like this to boost our commercial development,” said Giannino. “HYM had listened to our thoughts and needs and developed a project that will be a foundation for future commercial development. I am looking forward to seeing the transformation in the Beachmont area over the phases of the project.”
Bob O’Brien, director of strategic planning and economic development for the City of Revere, called the favorable vote “a major step forward in the transformation of the Suffolk Downs property and indeed for the benefit of the city of Revere as a whole.”
“It brings tremendous commercial development, job opportunities, as well as aesthetic and other improvements which otherwise wouldn’t be possible,” said O’Brien. “It’s been a lengthy process, as appropriate, of planning and development to get us to that stage. It’s been a systematic, deliberate process that has come to a good outcome and it reflects the wishes of the city and the community – and it’s a win for all concerned.”
Rizzo spoke after the meeting about the reasons for his vote against the project. He said upon its completion, “in the aggregate, the project will have 10,000 apartments there.”
“I think it’s way too much and we’re giving them way too much rope, and even though they have a signed document, we all know that signed documents don’t all come to fruition for one reason or another,” said Rizzo. “I think the city is biting off too much at one time. I would have preferred to see this process voted and phased in piece by piece, as opposed to in the aggregate. And the city is not getting anything in the way of mitigation. Getting tax revenue, to me, is not mitigation.”