Suffolk Downs Developer Announces New Community Investments

The HYM Investment Group recently announced it was committed to extending the East Boston Greenway and making additional contributions to its partnership with the East Boston Social Centers (EBSC) to create a more interconnected, community-oriented neighborhood

HYM, the development team behind the redevelopment of the 161-acre Suffolk Downs site on the East Boston-Revere line, announced it will fund the full design and construction of an East Boston Greenway (EBG) extension from Constitution Beach to the southeast corner of the development, following along Bennington Street and Walley Street. The move is in line with the goal of making Suffolk Downs a walkable, multimodal transit-served, and better-connected neighborhood. 

“The Friends of the East Boston Greenway are excited about the Greenway extension, and we’re glad to partner with HYM on this initiative,” said President of the Friends of the East Boston Greenway Karen Maddalena, “We look forward to a continued process to create new permanent open space.”

The Greenway extension will create an improved biking, running and walking experience with designated pedestrian and bicycle crossing at Bennington Street and Walley Street with appropriate traffic safety measures. This extension will combat traffic congestion and create a more connected and easily accessible East Boston by allowing for more bike-friendly connections from city to city. 

In addition to extending the EBG, the HYM Investment Group has announced a flagship partnership with the East Boston Social Centers with plans to integrate the EBSC into the Suffolk Downs redevelopment.

“This collaboration will play a critical role in developing an enduring facilities strategy for years to come,” said Executive Director of The East Boston Social Centers Justin Pasquariello. “Securing the highest quality facilities enables us to focus on delivering on our mission–ensuring that all children served by the EBSC — and all children in East Boston–enter Kindergarten ready to learn, joyful and thriving.”

The EBSC is an integral part of the East Boston community, effecting change not only in East Boston but also throughout Greater Boston for over 100 years. Serving members of the community through childcare, public health, and social work, the EBSC’s programs are empowering the community and will continue to do so and extend its reach with an additional location at Suffolk Downs. 

HYM Founding Partner Thomas O’Brien said these commitments to support the East Boston Greenway and East Boston Social Centers are consistent with “The HYM Investment Group’s mission of creating an extension of the existing, vibrant neighborhoods around Suffolk Downs as the redevelopment moves forward”. 

However, the Lawyers for Civil Rights (LCR) submitted extensive comments to the Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) outlining legal and equity concerns with the proposed redevelopment of the Suffolk Downs site.  

“Cities that are diverse and inclusive thrive,” wrote LCR in a statement. “That is why development must be carefully planned, to avoid displacing long-time residents and businesses, communities of color, and low-wage workers. Housing in particular must be affordable to a broad range of families and individuals.”

Sprawling over two cities and more than 150 acres, Suffolk Downs is one of the largest projects in Boston’s history and includes the creation of an entirely new neighborhood that will feature public spaces, residences, and extensive retail and commercial units. 

“We do not want East Boston to become another Seaport,” wrote the LCR. “The last thing Boston needs is another predominantly affluent space that both fails to reflect the rich diversity of this city, and that lacks basic community amenities. We are not anti-development. We are pro-growth — smart and equitable growth. Our work is motivated by contemporary race-and-class dynamics, and the legacy of housing and economic segregation in Boston. As the city becomes one of the most expensive in North America, our goal is to ensure that it thrives by retaining its vibrant socioeconomic and racial diversity.”

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