The development team behind the massive Dorchester Bay City project on Columbia Point’s waterfront made a $10 million commitment this week to fuel a homeownership fund run by the Dorchester-based Massachusetts Affordable Housing Alliance (MAHA). The money will go to participants in MAHA’s “Saving Towards Affordable & Sustainable Homeownership” (STASH) program, which provides homebuyer education and matched savings for down payments to first-generation home buyers across the state.
Dorchester Bay City, if fully built-out as planned, will transform 34-acres into a new community with a mix of housing, retail and public space. The project is a joint venture of Accordia Partners LLC and Ares Management Corporation.
“Though this project is primarily comprised of commercial space, we wanted to maximize the opportunities for nearby residents to buy homes in their neighborhoods,” said Kirk Sykes, a principal at Accordia Partners. “We are confident that the unique aspects of the STASH program and MAHA’s relationship with countless potential homebuyers, many of whom are people of color, and other partner non-profits means that these commitments will make an immediate and meaningful impact.”
Symone Crawford, who directs MAHA’s homeownership efforts, including the STASH program, said the $10 million will help people clear a major hurdle to purchasing a home: down payments.
“This program is a force multiplier in local residents’ abilities to overcome this barrier,” Crawford said. “Dorchester Bay City has already been an outstanding partner and we also expect to maximize connections between our program participants with the workforce opportunities associated with the commercial development at the site.”
MAHA intends to grow the STASH fund to $100 million to “dramatically expand the number of qualified first-generation homebuyers we can support,” Crawford added.
Councillor Frank Baker, whose District 3 seat on the Boston City Council includes the Columbia Point site, cheered the “continued creativity of the Dorchester Bay City team in partnering with local organizations to maximize the positive local impact of Dorchester Bay City in our community.”
The Accordia-led team signed a 99-year lease with UMass Boston in 2019 and will manage the build-out of the former Bayside Expo Center land in a deal that could net the university up to $235 million over the coming years. Accordia and Ares also control the land at 2 Morrissey Blvd, now home to Santander Bank, across the street from the Bayside site.