BPDA approves Dorchester Bay City Planned Development Area Master Plan
Sep 14, 2023
Approval unlocks numerous public benefits for the future of Dorchester
The Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA) Board of Directors approved the Dorchester Bay City Planned Development Area (PDA) Master Plan at their meeting Thursday. The PDA Master Plan will create a blueprint for the long-term future of this area of Dorchester. Located on more than 36 acres of land on the Columbia Point peninsula in Dorchester, Dorchester Bay City includes four parcels of land, and will bring significant public benefits to the City of Boston. Given the size of this project, development will be split into three phases, with multiple buildings being constructed in each phase. Subsequently, each building or cluster of buildings and associated open space will need to go through its own public process and be approved by the BPDA Board individually.
The project proposes the construction of 21 buildings which would include a mix of office, research and development, residential, retail, restaurant, commercial, community, cultural and other uses, as well as the creation of an extensive new street system to accommodate pedestrians, bicycles, and motor vehicles, more than 11 acres of public realm improvements, and the creation of more than eight acres of new open space. The project will also include the construction of approximately 1,957 new residential apartments in seven different residential buildings. Twenty percent of the residential units will be income-restricted.
A major goal of the project is to create the neighborhood connectivity and community of mixed uses called for in the BPDA-approved Columbia Point Master Plan (2011). The new street system will make possible the creation of new development blocks with amenities that will encourage walking and bicycling, and will provide connections to neighboring areas and nearby public recreational resources such as Carson Beach, Moakley Park and the Dorchester Shores Reservation. As part of the City’s transportation goals, this project plans to include interior space for approximately 3,700 bicycles, public bike racks for nearly 500 bicycles, as well as multiple public bike sharing stations across the development.
In support of the City’s resilience goals and due to the location of this site, buildings and the site will be raised and graded to slope appropriately to adjacent properties, and additional resiliency measures will help close two flood pathways in the neighborhood and protect the site and the neighborhood from periodic flooding. The site is currently a key flood path when high tides and other weather events cause flooding. Each building will be designed to comply with the requirements of the City’s Coastal Flood Resilience Overlay District. In addition, the project’s new street network will be constructed at a higher elevation. The project will also contribute $5 million to be used for the creation of a flood protection system within the Dorchester Shores Reservation, which will address a third flood pathway in the area. These funds will be contributed to the Massachusetts Department of Conservation & Recreation during Phase 1 of the project.
There are numerous community benefits associated with this project including: millions of dollars in linkage payments including $53.7 million in support of affordable housing and $9.9 million in support of jobs training, as well as $10 million for the Saving Toward Affordable Sustainable Homeownership (STASH) matched savings program of the Massachusetts Affordable Housing Alliance (MAHA) to reduce the racial homeownership and wealth gaps in Massachusetts. MAHA is a non-profit organization that is focused on enhancing homeownership among first-time homebuyers and first generation immigrants. The project will also contribute approximately $23 million to Moakley Park maintenance and repairs, and $41.6 million in transportation improvements and mitigation, and allocate $1.2 million to public art installations at multiple locations within Dorchester Bay City. The project will also include a community benefits fund totaling $8.2 million to support diversity, equity and inclusion efforts, area economic development and job training initiatives, and community and cultural programs serving area residents. In addition, this project is expected to create approximately 13,000-17,000 permanent jobs in a variety of industries.