Kirk Sykes's Accordia Partners is proposing nearly 6 million square feet of construction, including 1,740 apartments, restaurant and retail space and some 4 million square feet of "office, research and development, life sciences and/or potentially academic uses" where the Bayside Expo Center used to be and where Santander Bank now runs a large check-processing center.
Accordia's proposed Dorchester Bay City, detailed in plans filed with the BPDA, would spread across 17 new blocks in buildings that could be as tall as 17 stories on the 33.5 acres of land it plans to lease from both UMass Boston (the parking lot where the Bayside Expo Center used to be, which UMass bought for a now ended dreams of putting up dormitories, or an Olympic Village, or a stadium for the New England Revolution) for a total of about $235 million and the large Santander Bank check-processing center across Mt. Vernon Street.
Accordia promises "a 24/7 community that embodies live, work, and play," one that will become "a dynamic hub for all Bostonians."
Accordia adds it is talking to other developers about adding onto property surrounding the site, to make the area even more of a new city in the city.
It is also talking to the city and state about how to create "a connected network of streets, sidewalks, bicycle paths, and pedestrian paths that span from the JFK/UMass MBTA station across Morrissey Boulevard and Mt. Vernon Street to Day Boulevard and the Boston Harbor." It is also planning for 2,650 parking spaces.
Accordia says it will also need help from the city and state to keep the whole place from simply becoming an extension of Dorchester Bay as sea levels rise and storms worsen due to climate change, most immediately by coordinating with the city on its own plans for measures that will protect large swaths of Dorchester and South Boston from similar inundation - in particular city plans to turn Moakley Park into a sort of natural sponge that could soak up large amounts of water to keep it out of the surrounding areas. Accordia adds it will raise the elevation of the site to keep waves away from buildings.
It is looking at building some of the units under the city's "compact" specifications, which allow for smaller-than-normally-allowed units in exchange for common spaces for residents and, theoretically at least, lower rents. Also:
The creation of co-living units – a concept where bedrooms and bathrooms are rented by individuals and common living spaces are shared – will also be considered to make available apartments at accessible rents and costs for entry (e.g., often these projects do not require first or last months’ rent payments at the commencement of a tenancy).
Across the two sites - on either side of Mt. Vernon Street - Accordia has proposed some 20 acres of open space, most of it accessible to the public. Accordia says the development will "celebrate the choreography toward Dorchester Bay" and that:
The future open spaces at the Project will transform the existing conditions at the Project Site into an entirely new destination within Columbia Point, with tree-lined streets, new open spaces, outdoor recreation areas, multi-use paths, connections to the Dorchester Shores Reservation, and opportunities for temporary and permanent displays of art works.
One urban design goal of the street layout is to create a cohesive yet varied grid of blocks and open spaces that will accentuate the views toward Dorchester Bay and bring the natural environment deep into the Project Site through the view corridors, open spaces, and pedestrian passages to be created as part of the Project (see Figure 1-15). These view corridors invite pedestrians, bicyclists and vehicles through the Project Site, connecting the Dorchester neighborhood to the JFK/UMass MBTA station, the Dorchester Shores Reservation, Moakley Park, Carson Beach, and the Harbor Point Apartments.
Dorchester Bay City project-notification form (99.9M PDF).