State says Suffolk Downs Phase I Section Has Public Benefits

In February, Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton issued a waiver to allow HYM Investment Group, LLC to proceed to permitting of Phase I of the Suffolk Downs project prior to completion of the Draft ElR (DEIR) and Final EIR (FEIR) for the remaining development.

Last week, Secretary Beaton further ruled that the one million square foot Phase I section of the 161-acre overall Suffolk Downs site HYM and the City of Boston are racing to make  ‘Amazon Ready’ must have public benefits.

In his ruling Secretary Beaton wrote that based on the proposal he has determine that the Phase 1 project will have a positive public benefit to landlocked tidelands that have been historically unaccessible to residents.

Secretary Beaton wrote the site is comprised of landlocked tidelands that are entirely separated from flowed tidelands by public ways, including Route 1A, Revere Beach Parkway, Saratoga Street, and Bennington Street.

“The Phase 1 project site is greater than 250 feet from the waterfront and will not impede public access,” he wrote. “Public benefits will include improved pedestrian and bicycle facilities, publicly accessible open spaces, and storm-water management system improvements.”

By improving access to the site’s landlocked tidelands Secretary Beaton said the Phase 1 project will promote public health and safety through implementing a site design that provides safe and accessible facilities through added tideland green-space.

While Amazon has yet to pick a city for its second North American headquarters (HQ2) Boston is leaving nothing to chance. The Boston Planning and Development Agency recently approved Phase I of the project as well as changing some zoning to accommodate the buildings being proposed for the site.

Phase I of the Suffolk Downs project involves building on a one million square foot portion of the 161-acre site that would house Amazon offices close to the Suffolk Downs MBTA Blue Line station.

In its national Request for Proposals (RFP) Amazon said the city it picks would be able to provide 500,000 sq. ft. of office space by 2019. For months HYM has been trying to make a small portion in the southeast corner of the 161-acre site Amazon ready if the Seattle-based internet company decides to pick Boston and move its HQ2 here.

Suffolk Downs’s Phase I includes 520,000 sq. ft. of office space within two 260,000 sq. ft. buildings with supporting corporate space on the ground floor. Both buildings will be approximately 124 feet tall and will include terraced outdoor spaces with a landscaped, open-air walkway between the two buildings. The two buildings will share approximately 500 parking spaces.

The proposal also includes 12-acres of existing open space that would be untouched while about an acre and a half of new open space would be created.

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