Boston Construction News Accordia pitches ‘transformative’ Bayside Expo project in Dorchester

Reprinted from Boston Business Journal

Boston-based Accordia Partners has plans to build a 5.9-million-square-foot mixed-use development, including housing, office, lab and retail and restaurant space, at the Bayside Expo Center site and Santander Bank offices at 2 Morrissey Blvd. in Dorchester, according to a letter of intent filed Thursday with the Boston Planning and Development Agency.

The University of Massachusetts Building Authority, which owns the 20-acre Bayside site, tapped Accordia as the site’s master developer last year. The UMBA, Accordia and its capital partner Ares Management Corp. (NYSE: ARES) finalized a $235 million long-term ground lease last July. A month prior, the groups had acquired the 12-acre Santander Bank site for $235 million.

“In filing our Letter of Intent for the Bayside site and an adjacent parcel, we are delighted to move forward with a proposal that will enhance the Columbia Point Peninsula, create a number of positive community benefits, fulfill several important University of Massachusetts goals and strive to achieve unparalleled levels of inclusion in jobs, housing, education and training,” said Accordia’s Kirk Sykes and Dick Galvin in a statement.

Accordia plans to develop 3.5 million square feet at the Bayside site, and an additional 2.4 million at 2 Morrissey Blvd. Here’s how its development program breaks down, according to the letter of intent:

  • 1.46 million square feet of residential development, or about 1,740 new housing units
  • 4.006 million square feet of “office, research and development, life sciences and/or academic uses”
  • 155,000 square feet of “ground floor retail/restaurant/cultural/civic space”
  • 13.6 acres of publicly available open space
  • “A new system of roadways, pedestrian walkways and bicycle paths”

“The 2 Morrissey Boulevard property is anticipated to be redeveloped in a later phase of the proposed project, after the existing tenant’s lease has expired,” the development team wrote in the letter of intent. The Business Journal has previously reported that Santander’s lease at 2 Morrissey Blvd. extends through June 2020, with an option to renew. It’s unclear whether Santander and Accordia have plans to renew the lease. A Santander spokesperson was not immediately available for comment.

At nearly 6 million square, Accordia’s Dorchester plans represent about half the size of Boston’s Seaport submarket, and is equivalent to all of the office and lab product added to that neighborhood since 2006, said Aaron Jodka, managing director of research and client services at Colliers International in Boston. It would be about 9% of the 66.5 million-square-foot office market of Boston’s central business district, said Liz Berthelette, research director at Newmark Knight Frank in Boston.

“We have participated in nearly 100 meetings with state and local officials, elected officials, neighborhood and civic organizations, community leaders, and other stakeholders in preparation for undertaking this transformative project,” Sykes and Galvin wrote in the March 5 letter of intent. “We have also sponsored two citizens’ charrettes in which we have received many thoughtful and constructive ideas from area neighbors and business people on the approach to planning, designing and developing this project.”


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