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Old 09-24-2014, 05:17 PM   #61
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Re: Suffolk Downs Redevelopment Potential

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It's sickening to see the developer vultures swooping over the 30+ acres of wetlands on this property without regard to the impact that a large development will bring. The short term owners of this property shouldn't be rewarded with any zoning or environmental relief at all, at the expense of the greater public good
Sorry ArchBoston guys I think you missed the joke.
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Old 09-25-2014, 03:47 PM   #62
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Re: Suffolk Downs Redevelopment Potential

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Holy crap...this is some serious NIMBY hustle. Criticizing developers for their environmentally insenstive development methods before it's even been set out to bid!
I vote to maintain open space and you claim that I must be a neighbor against development. Sorry Mac I live 10 miles away and there is no reason to develop all open land because people want to buy houses or go shopping, or developers eyeball profits. Sensible development and cluster zoning I agree with, random development is not in the best interest of the general public, regardless of the lack of available land or demand.
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Old 09-25-2014, 04:14 PM   #63
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Re: Suffolk Downs Redevelopment Potential

Open space matters... outside the city. Metro Boston is growing, that's an unavoidable fact. So you can either
a) redevelop Suffolk Downs, a site already in an already heavily urbanized area with adjacent transit access to its "highest and best use" (IE: Northpoint, Assembly Square) or
b) develop a farm/woods with no transit access and add more cars to already overloaded highways (IE: Danvers State, Overlook Ridge).

Suffolk Downs in it's current configuration isn't doing any favors for the environment. The water in the center of the track is likely chock full runoff from the stables, plus whatever chemicals they use on the grass. The old river is in a culvert, which has a slew of it's own issues. And there are acres upon acres of asphalt, limiting groundwater intrusion, heating the air, and creating even more runoff with oil from cars and salt in the winter.

A redevelopment of Suffolk Downs, of ANY kind, would be a net gain for the environment.
1) The river would almost certainly be day lighted and restored to a more natural form as mitigation for redevelopment.
2) The river would likely be used as a focal point for the new development, creating a public park and green space.
3) Creation of more transit accessible housing would limit the appeal of developing virgin woods/farms/greenspace outside the city, and ease the housing crunch in the general area.
4) A successful redevelopment could have a runaway effect, leading to the adjacent parcels of single story industrial/commercial properties surrounded by acres of asphalt redeveloped into something more sustainable.



TL;DR, Redeveloping Suffolk Downs is good for the environment, because it puts off demand to develop virgin greenspace, removes acres of asphalt, restores a covered river (probably), and takes advantage of an adjacent underused transit line. This is one of THE most sensible places to develop in the entire Metro-Boston area.

Dan, your argument is valid for all of the garbage being built along RT1, not here.



---------------------

Unrelated to this conversation, does anyone know what's up with the 3/4 partial track (1/4mi?) in the center of the field? Looking at historic aerials, it appeared between 1955 and 1969, but looks to have never been connected to the track-proper. The 1971 view shows it best:


Was there a plan to have trotters at the track that never materialized?
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Last edited by davem; 09-25-2014 at 04:33 PM.
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Old 09-25-2014, 07:02 PM   #64
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Re: Suffolk Downs Redevelopment Potential

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Was there a plan to have trotters at the track that never materialized?
According to my dad, who walked horses there when he was a boy in the 40s, they ran trotters at Suffolk Downs for a period of time.
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Old 09-27-2014, 03:56 PM   #65
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Re: Suffolk Downs Redevelopment Potential

Anyone else supremely disappointed by the 6 ideas proposed in the Globe today?

http://www.bostonglobe.com/2014/09/2...UiM/story.html
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Old 09-27-2014, 04:20 PM   #66
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Re: Suffolk Downs Redevelopment Potential

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Anyone else supremely disappointed by the 6 ideas proposed in the Globe today?

http://www.bostonglobe.com/2014/09/2...UiM/story.html
I wouldn't call any of those "ideas" bold. It is more like they asked six people to force-fit Suffolk Downs into their own uninspired pet issue/project.
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Old 09-28-2014, 07:49 AM   #67
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Re: Suffolk Downs Redevelopment Potential

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I was disappointed as well. The articles felt as if they were edited-for-length to death, i.e., a bold vision is impossible to outline in 250 words or whatever their inadequate word count was.
Right, but I also feel like they were all half-baked to begin with. I don't think you miss out on anything of substance if you summarized them in a couple of words.

1. Education complex
2. Community vision
3. Manufacturing
4. Facebook
5. Estuary/wetlands
6. Quincy Market 2.0
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Old 09-28-2014, 11:49 AM   #68
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Re: Suffolk Downs Redevelopment Potential

How about some boring mixed-use development - housing, retail, and a school or two. Revere has a pretty bad shortage on classroom space.
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Old 09-28-2014, 12:07 PM   #69
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Re: Suffolk Downs Redevelopment Potential

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How about some boring mixed-use development - housing, retail, and a school or two. Revere has a pretty bad shortage on classroom space.
I totally agree. We don't need some crazy "bold" plan for Suffolk Downs. We need proper density and housing near two heavy rail T stops. The Blue Line is sorely underutilized past Maverick. We're packed to the gills during the peaks from State to Maverick and then half or more of the train empties at Maverick.
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Old 09-28-2014, 05:53 PM   #70
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Re: Suffolk Downs Redevelopment Potential

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How about some boring mixed-use development - housing, retail, and a school or two. Revere has a pretty bad shortage on classroom space.
Revere's classroom shortage should be somewhat alleviated with the opening of the new Hill School next year. And keep in mind by adding more housing you create the vicious circle of having to spend more tax dollars to build even more schools.
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Old 09-28-2014, 06:34 PM   #71
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Re: Suffolk Downs Redevelopment Potential

^think about how much money we could save if we stopped teaching children how to read 😜
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Old 09-28-2014, 09:36 PM   #72
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Re: Suffolk Downs Redevelopment Potential

There's no BRA lording over Revere, so if they're smart there's no reason why this chunk of land has to be held hostage by a Really Big Idea™.

Whereas in Boston the land will sit vacant for 30 years while they squabble over a Really Big Idea™.
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Old 10-02-2014, 10:21 PM   #73
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Re: Suffolk Downs Redevelopment Potential

Horse owners seek racing license for Suffolk Downs
http://www.whdh.com/story/26684802/h...-suffolk-downs

Group seeks to bring racing back to Suffolk Downs in 2015
https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/20...iCP/story.html


Probably has no steam, but this is circulating in the media right now.
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Old 10-02-2014, 10:52 PM   #74
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Re: Suffolk Downs Redevelopment Potential

"Keep this dump open!" is not going to get a lot of bites.

If there's no megabucks investor lurking ready to spend a fortune on giving that place a total makeover, all these are are proposals to keep it undead a little while longer. And there's no megabucks investor on the horizon crazy enough to pour money into SD for purposes of keeping it the same thing it already is. It's been undead for years now.
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Old 10-15-2014, 03:20 PM   #75
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Re: Suffolk Downs Redevelopment Potential

Hum de dum. Since they announced the track closing I've been playing with a few redevelopment ideas. The concept I've landed on is thus:

Daylight and restore the Belle Isle Inlet, as well as a connection to the Sales Creek roughly following the river's current course through the track. This is the centerpiece of the whole redevelopment. It splits the site into four distinct "zones", allowing for each part to have a distinct feel. It is also a massive gain in parkland for the community, as well as providing drainage for the site and environmental restoration.



The four zones (neighborhoods) are Suffolk Downs, in the lower left area immediately surrounding the station of the same name; Belle Isle, the area between the split in the rivers and the tank farms; Beachmont, the largest section in the lower right surrounding the station of the same name; and Reeds Island, the triangular section in the top left.

The Park would be bordered by a meandering road and Haussman inspired 5-8 story residential apartment buildings. Frequent bridges will tie the separate sections together, while the park itself will be landscaped in classic Olmstead fashion, with meandering paths, trees and some open space for kicking around a ball.

Suffolk Downs would be a high-density mixed-use development. Serving as the main neighborhood center for the northern side of Orient Heights as well as the new development, it would have a few mixed use "towers" over 100' clustered around the station, taking advantage of the views out over the Belle Isle Marsh. The towers will also be hidden everyone except the residents of the northern side of "the heights" because of the hill, so with any luck NIMBY issues would not be as bad. This is one section of the development that will contain significant office and hotel space as well as commercial and residential. Walley Street would be reconfigured in the existing neighborhood and meet an extended Washburn Ave from the other side of the project. Air rights on either side of the station would be developed to tie the new neighborhood together with Bennington Street and the small neighborhood to the south. The density around the station would begin to drop off as it comes closer to the river and the existing neighborhood, with new triple deckers boardering the existing neighborhood.

Beachmont would be a medium-density development, due to its proximity to a larger existing neighborhoods (Beachmont and Crescent Beach), as well as 145 and 1A. The area where the stables are currently will be entirely developed with Fenway-style mixed use, with density clustered towards the center of the development to not overpower the existing lower density neighborhoods it surrounds. Winthrop Ave will be Landscaped and extended as a rontage road along 145 to Tomsello Way to allow it to be a central main street for the redevelopment, as well as encourage redevelopment of the abandoned supermarket across 145 and the MBTA parking lot.

Belle Isle would be a Back Bay modeled neighborhood, with narrow blocks bordered by 3-5 story row houses, with the exception of slightly taller buildings bordering the river park. Mostly residential, the neighborhood would have a few mixed use buildings scattered throughout at the "corners" for an opportunity for a cafe or convenience store. a 40' wide buffer (not shown) along the tank farms would be heavily landscaped with large trees, with rowhouse back-yards facing it.

Reeds Island would contain two Big Boxes along 1a, capped with 5 story affordable housing apartments. Behind this would be new triple deckers, providing an opportunity for new owner-occupant landlords to come to the area. This section would be more car-oriented with shared driveways (1 drive for 2 triple deckers) and a large parking garage in for the big box and affordable housing building.

I've started populating the site with some rough massing. NOT EASY. I've got Belle Isle and Reeds Island mostly populated, I've started on the "downtown" section of Suffolk Downs, and haven't yet touched Beachmont. But you can kind of get the idea for what I'm thinking. Even with taking up so much space with parkland, this site is MASSIVE.





I've also uploaded it to 3D Warehouse. If anyone has sketchup and wants to take a stab at "building it out" with some massing models, that would be fun. I've already run out of creativity.
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Last edited by davem; 10-15-2014 at 03:49 PM.
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Old 10-15-2014, 03:45 PM   #76
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Re: Suffolk Downs Redevelopment Potential

Very cool, and I like your idea. I wonder if existing neighbors are gonna fight potential high density development at this site like almost every other in the area. I'm sure at least some people will. But this is such a good opportunity for basically a blank slate site, can't wait to see what happens here.
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Old 10-15-2014, 04:11 PM   #77
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Re: Suffolk Downs Redevelopment Potential

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I wonder if existing neighbors are gonna fight potential high density development at this site like almost every other in the area.
Do you really wonder?
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Old 10-16-2014, 03:11 PM   #78
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Re: Suffolk Downs Redevelopment Potential

Wow, davem, from your fingers to the eyes of the BRA and Revere...just fantastic stuff.
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Old 10-16-2014, 03:20 PM   #79
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Re: Suffolk Downs Redevelopment Potential

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Do you really wonder?
Well...it's fun to speculate whether they're going to reach for the pitchfork, the torches, the slingshots, the baseball bats, the IED's, or the ebola-infected lawyers.

So many choices, it's hard to decide!
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Old 10-16-2014, 05:12 PM   #80
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Re: Suffolk Downs Redevelopment Potential

As some of you may recall, I live a less than a mile from the site. My family's roots have been in Orient Heights since the mid 1930s. If something like davem's concept were proposed, I'd be over there with a shovel for the groundbreaking.
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