Even without Amazon, developer hopes to turn Suffolk Downs into large mixed-use development

The Revere Journal reports on a meeting between the Revere city council and Tom O’Brien, whose HYM now owns the 161-acre Suffolk Downs site and who says Amazon going somewhere else wouldn't change his plans to build something like Assembly Row in Somerville, only "much better."



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Lol "much better".

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"Believe me, you're gonna love it".

Shopping malls are dead.
Brick & mortar retail itself isn't far behind, but sure, let's build a monstrosity with tax $ that will make Rt. 1 even more of a depressing ghost town of empty strip malls and even worse traffic.


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I'll read over it again but I didn't see HYM's plan to replace Amazon's 50,000 potential new jobs in the area.

Maybe the casino will be hiring.

You are not entitled to the new Amazon HQ & 50,000 jobs.

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So you do not get to carp and complain about who is going to replace those 50,000 jobs if they go somewhere else. HYM has indicated that they would gladly scrap their plans to work with Amazon, and this is now Plan B.

Maybe we should just let the property rot.

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Maybe do absolutely nothing unless we are 100% dead on balls certain that any planned initial proposal will be a smashing success and foolproof. Maybe just not try anything. Maybe just evacuate the Americas entirely and return to England. Hope King George takes us back.

We still need housing.

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People in the housing will need services. Maybe offices in which to work. Think about it.

Have you seen Assembly in the past few years?

Assemble Row is packed day and night. Lots of restaurants and things to do plus lots of housing and now offices too. It's nothing like a Mall. Ikea rejecting the site was the best thing to happen since the Ford plant closed.

Partners anchors the day shift

The thousands of workers at Partners who can walk to the shops and eateries provide customers at times when the area used to be almost deserted. That has to help the businesses.

And the stadium rejections

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Both Revere and Assembly were successful in their stadium smackdowns, making way for better prospects. Those stadiums proposals always sneak up. Munis have to be on guard 24/7. One of my friends saw an Attleboro PawSox proposal in Yale-ville and Lucchino was there to review it. Unsure if its just Yale New Urbanism BS or something real, but it was enough to startle my Attleboro friends & family. We're not paying for 38Studios 2.0. Revere & Somerville, any advice?

Big Box stores

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Big Box retail is dead. But suprisingly niche mom and pop stores are coming back now that there's a generation that is leveraging the internet, online shipping, and creating spaces people want to spend time at.

They have to be a jack of all trades and their stores need to be more than showrooms, but they're finding markets and patrons.

I hope it would be "much better"

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Because after all those years Assembly Row turned out to be a depressing disappointment.

I mean, at least it turned out to be better than the bunch of big-box retail National Development was pushing for, but other than that it's a bunch of soulless condos next to a soulless strip mall. It doesn't feel like a real neighborhood AT ALL.

Assembly could be so much better

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The stores aren't really to my taste, but the movie theater is terrific and some of the restaurants are good too (mmmmmm Southern Kin fried chicken), but WHY ARE THERE ROADS RUNNING THROUGH IT? What kind of pedestrian mall is it when you're still dodging cars half the time. Why is the garage entrance not off to the side?


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You're trying to encourage people to stay and shop but allowing cars right through the center? The whole thing feels cramped, unpleasant and poorly planned. I only go to movies there and then leave. I'm also not into outlets. Why do we need another area like this?


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I like real city streets, but I, too,don't really understand the appeal of these fake-downtown "lifestyle centers". In this climate I rather have them throw a roof over the thing and heat it and air condition it.


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All those restaurants in the Back Bay don’t seem to have a problem with getting people to sit in their outside tables. Heck, when I got to the Copley Square Boloco in the summer, I’m expecting the inside to be packed since their outside seating is full, but there is usually a bunch of seating inside.

So yeah, people don’t mind eating with a constant stream of cars a few feet away.

Funny, most restaurants with

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Funny, most restaurants with outdoor seating in the Back Bay are set away from traffic by more
than three feet. And, as a bonus, some outdoor spots are buffered by planters, hedges and/or the seating area is below street level thus further reducing noise and pollution from cars. Assembly Row designers could have made more of an effort, but opted not to bother thus dumping people eating expensive food right next to heavily congested stop and go vehicular traffic. For the prices Assembly Row restaurants demand, it should have been more thoughtfully planned. The only reason I can imagine someone would pay downtown Boston meal prices at Assembly Row is because they'd rather drive and park their car there, rather than take
the T, bike or walk within the city proper to get a much better dinner. Whatever floats your boat.

Have you even been to Assembly Row?

Most if not all of the restaurant seating outdoors is not on the main roadway - it is along the village streets and even along the river walkways.

The SlumCrates are aligned along the larger roadway, but the actual seating is away from it. When the new taproom is complete the outdoor seating will be on a back corner along the small streets opposite the bike path.

My thoughts exactly

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The cars make Assembly Row it kinda like a strip mall, but without the parking lot buffer from the street traffic.

Brand new development that could rethink things, and they still made it too car-oriented for my tastes.

I never feel like it's a pleasant place to go.

Assembly Row is unfinished

It will probably take the better part of a decade to finish, especially if you include areas that Federal Realty doesn't own (Home Depot, former Circuit City, the former location of the Loews movie theatre). I'm also curious what might happen to the stripmall if Kmart eventually closes; their parent company is not doing well financially.

The strip mall part is usually packed

Especially now that Trader Joes moved in, but the Christmas Tree Slop and Staples and the home goods stores also draw people in. I don't think that there is a problem - they probably have K Mart on a long term lease that won't pay what a new tenant would.

Au contraire

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I suspect the opposite: that the terms of the lease are so ridiculously in favor of KMart, why would they ever leave? At the time, KMart was the only thing standing between the developer and a completely empty building, and was in bankruptcy proceedings at the time. You'd think a savvy developer could have thrown a couple bucks that way to make them go away...


There's a reasonable possibility that the entire Sears-Kmart chain could go bankrupt and close all stores, something that is already happening in Canada. If that happens, it doesn't matter how well this particular location is doing or how low its rent is.

That home depot is one of the

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That home depot is one of the busiest in the state, with it's location right off the highway, so it's probably not going anywhere. The strip mall having a trader joes move in shows it's likely to remain a mall, just with increasingly gentrified sections.

Hoping the CC gets redeveloped into something neat.

Many people had such hopes

Yeah, it could be better IF:

  • the area was actually connected to neighborhoods
  • it wasn't already run through with roadways from before
  • it didn't have a pre-existing set of big boxes (pre Everett) that were vital to people in adjacent areas who didn't want to drive to Woburn all the time
  • it had had an orange line station from the get-go

Develop it! As evidenced by

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Develop it! As evidenced by the comments already posted on this thread, there are apparently lots of people who love living smack dab in the middle of a concentration of chain stores, congested parking garages, and pedestrian walkways which compete with cars 'cruising' day and night, i.e. Assembly Row. No thanks! At least in city neighborhoods the cars are more separated from pedestrians. At Assembly Row, vehicular traffic and pedestrian traffic is integrated which sucks; furthermore, it's awful to bike around there... it's as if the developer was trying to attract car drivers who despise walking and cycling.