Guest Op-ed: The Suffolk Downs Development Project Will Cause Big Problems for Revere

By Councillor Dan Rizzo

Mayor Brian Arrigo’s approval of the massive Suffolk Downs development project on the Revere side of the 161-acre property that straddles Revere and Boston is a prime example of Mayor Arrigo’s uncontrolled overdevelopment policies for Revere.

Unfortunately, very few Revere residents are aware of the magnitude of this oversized development project and the negative impacts that this project will have on the Beachmont, Shirley Avenue, and Revere Beach neighborhoods.

When completed, the Suffolk Downs development project will consist of 13,000 residential units with an estimated 18,000 new residents. That’s more residents than currently reside in all of the Beachmont, Shirley Avenue, and Revere Beach neighborhoods combined!

The Suffolk Downs development project will also include eight million sq. ft. of commercial office space and laboratories, 500,000 sq. ft. of retail space, and two hotels which, will accommodate over 1,200 guests each day. This massive, 70 building development will be the home, workplace and shopping and dining area to more than 30,000 residents, customers, and employees each day with an estimated 34,000 vehicle trips traveling to and from Suffolk Downs daily.

The Suffolk Downs development project is a classic example of excessive overdevelopment, which will overwhelm the already congested roadways of the neighborhoods that surround Suffolk Downs clogging Revere Beach Parkway, Winthrop Avenue, North Shore Road, Beachmont Square, State Road, Bennington Street, Ocean Avenue and Revere Beach Boulevard. The Suffolk Downs development project will become a traffic nightmare, and a huge traffic burden on Revere’s overcrowded roadways creating bumper-to-bumper traffic jams on a daily basis.

Furthermore, Mayor Arrigo’s administration has also approved over 1,400 new apartments in the Revere Beach, Beachmont, and Shirley Avenue neighborhoods, in addition to the existing apartments that have already been constructed.   

The Suffolk Downs development will also put enormous pressure on our school system, which is nearing capacity, our limited fire and police forces, and our sewer and water systems, which are now operating at peak limits.

The downside negative impacts of the Suffolk Downs development project far outweigh the benefits. In fact when the Revere portion of the Suffolk Downs project is completed it is going to cost Revere taxpayers an additional $13 million dollars annually to provide basic public services to the Suffolk Downs development site and to the new residents.

I voted against the Suffolk Downs development project because I believe it is far too massive and will have a negative impact on the quality of life in the surrounding neighborhoods.

When I was mayor, I proposed to stop all apartment construction in Revere to allow the City the time to undertake a planning process for orderly small-scale development projects that would be in the best interests of the residents of Revere and not the best interests of the apartment developers. Mayor Brian Arrigo disregarded my request for a ban and gave the apartment developers the green light to go ahead and do everything they wanted. We need to put control back in the city’s hand- not the developers.  If not, the horse is out of the barn and the Revere neighborhoods around Suffolk Downs will be left holding the losing tickets.

Dan Rizzo is a Councillor-at Large and former mayor of Revere.  He is also a mayoralty candidate in the upcoming November Election.

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