UMass Boston Coalition Against Gentrification
Started 1 petition
Dorchester Bay City Should Serve the People of Boston
We, the undersigned members of the UMass Boston community--including faculty, staff, students, alumni, neighbors, and other supporters--as well as Columbia Point community members demand that the Dorchester Bay City development plan be held accountable to the principles of racial, economic, and environmental justice, as specified in the letter from the UMass Boston Coalition Against Gentrification to the BPDA and Accordia Partners. To learn more, join us for a virtual campus teach-in on the Dorchester Bay City proposal: Thursday April 15 at 3pm. Register here. Background In February 2019, the University of Massachusetts Building Authority (UMBA) and Board of Trustees entered into a 99-year ground lease with Accordia Partners LLC, a private development firm, to transform the 19.94 acre Bayside Expo site into a mixed-use urban innovation district inspired, in part, by Cambridge’s Kendall Square at MIT. In September 2020, Accordia Partners LLC submitted a proposal to the Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) outlining their plans for this site, along with 13 acres on the south side of Mt. Vernon Street. This is all part of what they are calling their Dorchester Bay City project. This mixed-use development, featuring 5,900,000 square feet of new building, is currently under review by the BPDA and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. As members of the UMass Boston campus community, a major resident of the Columbia Point peninsula, and one of this development project’s most directly impacted parties, the UMass Boston Coalition Against Gentrification believes that UMass (UMBA), the City of Boston, and Accordia have an obligation to ensure that this development meets the current and future needs of our campus and surrounding neighborhoods, specifically the Columbia Point, Dorchester, and South Boston communities. We believe that the current proposal will have very negative, gentrifying impacts on those communities, with rising rents, job displacement, and climate risks pushing out current residents. The current proposal also fails to address the needs or incorporate the voices of Dorchester’s communities of color and other working class residents. We therefore demand that the BPDA and Accordia Partners LLC work together to modify the Dorchester Bay City Proposal to fully address the following ten planning issues (as explained more fully in our December 2020 letter): Expand the existing Community Advisory Committee (CAC) to include the full range of stakeholders. People of color, low income residents, and others most impacted by this development must be at the table. Increase the overall commitment to affordable housing (onsite and offsite, rental and homeownership). The inflationary impact of Dorchester Bay City on area real estate values and rents will likely most negatively impact low- and very-low-income renters, who are disproportionately people of color. Provide a comprehensive multi-modal transportation strategy that addresses the needs of visitors to the site as well as area residents. Residents and commuters to this area currently face some of the region’s worst transit problems, which the Dorchester Bay City Proposal will further exacerbate. Establish a meaningful connection between Harbor Point Homes and Dorchester Bay City. The current site plan does not include a single road or sidewalk connecting the Harbor Point Homes community to the new development. Incorporate needed community facilities into the proposal such as schools, daycare and senior centers, branch libraries, etc. This project is publicly funded and, as such, should be aimed at serving and benefiting the public. Establish a cross-subsidy program whereby Dorchester Bay City commercial tenants pay a modest premium to provide long-standing community businesses and non-profits access to space within the new development. Expand employment, entrepreneurial, and business opportunities for low and moderate-income residents of the development’s impact area. Re-evaluate the project’s preliminary sea level rise mitigation strategies, which may adversely impact neighboring sites. Stop the proposal’s encroachment on Dorchester Shores Reservation and Carson Beach. Guarantee research and internship opportunities for UMass Boston students during the planning, design, construction, and operating phases of the project. UMass Boston students shall be prioritized over students from other colleges and universities for these opportunities. Take Action with Us: If you haven’t already, please sign this petition and share your reason for signing. To learn more, join us for a virtual campus teach-in on the Dorchester Bay City proposal: Thursday April 15 at 3pm. Register here.