South Boston Development Update: PART TWO

In South Boston Online’s last issue, we presented PART ONE of an update on major developments in South Boston. That focused on the Waterfront, from Fort Point, where GE is locating their corporate headquarters, to the proposed power plant site development at the eastern end of Summer Street on the Reserved Channel. Now, let’s journey to Perkins Square, then down Dorchester Street, to the Andrew Square/South Bay neighborhoods. by Rick Winterson Down Broadway in Perkins Square, a proposed project by Sorrent Co., rendered by Pisani & Associates, essentially replaces the buildings on the northwest corner of Dorchester Street and West Broadway, between Stats and Santander Bank. The new structure will contain underground parking, three retail units on the ground floor, and several residences on the three top floors. That project foreshadows the major changes that will certainly take place in and around Perkins Square. We haven’t space to detail all of the other project activity along West Broadway, but it is extensive and is taking place very rapidly, all the way down to the more-or-less completely developed neighborhood around Broadway Station. Think of the following news item as a small but telling example of the changes along West Broadway: Capo plans to open a jazz club next to and under its restaurant on West Broadway (yes, they have already gotten their entertainment license). It might not be Blinstrub’s, but it’ll be a nightclub. At the other end of Dorchester Street is Andrew Square, the next, coming hot spot in South Boston’s residential and retail construction marathon. Before discussing the Square, we should mention that a project called “South Bay Town Center” is nearing approval. It is not in South Boston, it’s just across the border in Dorchester, but there are lessons to be learned. This “Town Center” adds a hotel, a movie theater, and nearly 500 residences. Many of these units (over 60) are affordable, which is good. However, the key concern among neighbors of this Town Center is traffic. No one has to be told of existing congestion along Dorchester Avenue and Boston Street into Andrew Square. The South Bay Town Center will only make that more of an issue. We will be facing similar major traffic issues on our Waterfront, even after Massport’s Waterfront Transportation Center is up and running a few years from now. Make no mistake – traffic is a big (and unresolved) issue in most areas within South Boston – especially those areas being developed And did you notice the front page article in last Friday’s Globe about four small residences next to South Bay, with new asking prices now totaling $6 million ($6,000,000)? At a BRA meeting last November, the “Washington Village” project was first presented by DJ Properties to the Andrew Square Civic Association. This is a project sited on the northwest corner of the intersection of Dorchester Street and Old Colony Avenue; it extends down Damrell Street. Its numbers are notable – 656 residences, 100,000 square feet of retail space, and a fiveacre, Article 80, Large Project BRA designation. And according to our untrained lay opinion, it looks good. That will give you a brief picture of what we think are the key South Boston development projects at this time. Admittedly we had to pick and choose the impact projects – those projects that are big and that are in the “here and now”. Other significant developments, like the all the new residences along West First and Second Streets, are already well underway or finished. South Boston Online encourages you to stay abreast of the issues these projects will generate. Traffic/parking is always a key issue; many others will arise. But you can take part. For example, the BRA was instrumental in chairing a year-long, roundtable working group to design the future of Dorchester Avenue from the south side of Andrew Square to where Dot Ave intersects with Fourth Street. The effort is called “PLAN South Boston”; the participation by interested South Boston residents was remarkably effective. The BRA is also looking at completely rezoning much of South Boston. Look for Public Meetings, and then make it a point to attend the ones in your neighborhood. To recap both of Online’s articles, there are seven very large projects either coming to South Boston or already under construction: Seaport Square, Massport’s Transportation Center, the GE Headquarters relocation, Redgate’s power plant site development (along with the Conley Terminal expansion), Perkins Square/ West Broadway, the South Bay Town Center on our border with Dorchester, and Washington Village in Andrew Square. And of course, there are many, many more small developments going on as well. Stay informed. Speak up at Public Meetings. After all, South Boston is the place where you live.

A rendering of the proposed South Boston Waterfront Transportation Center (SBWTC).
A rendering of the proposed South Boston Waterfront Transportation
Center (SBWTC).

Jeanne Rooney

Jeanne Rooney is the Editor in Chief for South Boston Online.

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