Thursday, December 12, 2013

A vision for Suffolk Downs: Former Secretary of Transportation and Local Urban Development Experts Announce New Vision for Suffolk Downs Site

This just in from EastBoston2020:
Community group offers five guiding principles to Boston elected officials for development on Suffolk Downs site since casino was voted down

(BOSTON, Mass., Dec. 10, 2013) -- Led by former Massachusetts Secretary of Transportation Jim Aloisi, a largely East Boston-based group of urban planners, architects, public infrastructure experts, and representatives of various community groups today released an alternative vision to the proposed casino at Suffolk Downs that was voted down as a result of the November 5 election.

The newly-formed group’s two-page guidance titled “Overarching Principles For Development in East Boston” outlines five principles by which all future significant development proposals in East Boston – and Suffolk Downs in particular – should be measured. The principles, including job creation, community inclusion and a transparent process, environmental impact, transit-oriented development, and economic feasibility, present a framework to ensure that this critical and unique site is developed in a way that enhances quality of life, job creation and return on investment for all residents of Boston and surrounding communities.

"Although Suffolk Downs is privately owned, it is supported by a highway and transit system owned and operated by the state and paid for by the taxpayers of Massachusetts," said Aloisi, a native of East Boston and whose parents still live in the neighborhood. "It is only fair and just that any major development on its grounds be thoroughly vetted by local citizenry and surrounding communities. We hope these principles, which express a positive and forward looking vision for the future of this site and community will be embraced by a broad spectrum of state and local decision makers."

As many real estate and other investment experts contend, the Suffolk Downs site offers a wealth of development possibilities beyond a casino. For example, Banker and Tradesman recently noted that "At a time when home and condo prices are soaring out of reach for middle class families in Boston, Suffolk's 110 or so Boston acres are a huge potential asset, ground zero for the Hub's next big mixed-use neighborhood of shops and homes." (1)

Desirable factors such as quick access to downtown Boston, Logan Airport and the emerging Innovation District in South Boston via the Blue Line and soon the Silver Line, as well as a shared economic center for the communities of East Boston, Revere and Winthrop make Suffolk Downs an exceptional candidate for a mix of housing and commercial development opportunities, according to the group. Also, the adjacent Belle Isle Marsh provides abundant green space and offers potential connections to the East Boston Greenway.

A full version of the  “Overarching Principles For Development in East Boston” can be found at  For more information, please contact

(1) Banker and Tradesman, "Forget Gambling: Suffolk Downs Has Mixed-Use Development Potential" Sunday, November 17, 2013