Walsh Weighs in on Suffolk Downs BPDA Approval

Two weeks ago the Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) approved the largest single development in Boston’s history. 

After several years of community meetings and negotiations with residents and city officials, Mayor Martin Walsh said the BPDA approved project represents a great opportunity for the community and City of Boston to address many issues outlined in the Mayor’s Imagine Boston 2030 initiative. 

“Identified in Imagine Boston 2030 as a unique opportunity for growth, the newly-approved Suffolk Downs Redevelopment will bring thousands of jobs and affordable and market-rate housing units to East Boston, advance our climate resiliency goals, invest in public transit infrastructure, and create new public spaces for everyone to enjoy,” said Walsh. 

Walsh pointed to many of the provisos negotiated between the developer, HYM Investment Group, and the community that will help address the city’s affordable housing shortage as well as displacement happening right now in Eastie.  

These provisos included an agreement to increase the affordable housing component from the 13 percent minimum required by the BPDA to 20 percent. This will mean nearly 2,000 units at the site will be set aside as ‘affordable’ units. 

There’s a $5 million housing stabilization fund independently controlled by local board to be announced with continued funding over the course of the project to help address the neighborhood’s displacement issues. Within that is immediate rent relief for Eastie families up to $800,000, with another $400,000 coming soon. 

As far as job creation and future job growth HYM agrees to a Project Labor Agreement to guarantee union jobs for the construction and pledged $1 million for workforce development and ESL classes for Eastie families. 

Another $1 million for apprenticeship programs to get Eastie residents into the trades as well as expanded vocational education for East Boston residents and priority in the hiring process

“I want to thank the many community members who participated in the public process and worked alongside the Boston Planning & Development Agency and development team over the past three years,” said Walsh. “Your engagement has helped shape the vision for this site and has led to a better project that reflects the needs of the neighborhood.”

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