Massive 800 Morrissey development seeks public input

A rendering of the proposed six-story residential building at 800 Morrissey Boulevard. A Ramada hotel is currently sited on the location. Courtesy Boston Planning and Development Agency

Dorchester residents will get a chance next month to weigh in on a massive development set for Morrissey Boulevard. The proposal for 800 Morrissey Boulevard, currently home to an “underperforming” Ramada hotel, calls for a six-story residential building, according to documents filed with city officials. The building would have 240 units, with about 104 studio units, 103 one-bedroom units, 25 two-bedroom units and 7 three-bedroom units. Thirty-five units will be designated for affordable housing.

The proposal includes a parking garage with 162 vehicular spaces and storage for bicycles.

A virtual public meeting, put together by the Boston Planning and Development Agency, is set for Tuesday, Dec. 14, at 6 p.m.

The site is located between Morrissey Boulevard and I-93, with Boston Bowl next door, and the 780 Morrissey Blvd. development on its other side. The 780 Morrissey Blvd. site is the former home of the Phillips Old Colony House and Freeport Tavern.

The project comes as Morrissey Boulevard, a major corridor in and out of the city, undergoes a development boom. The BEAT, the former home of the Boston Globe at 135 Morrissey Boulevard, is readying to lease its space to life science companies, while the Santander Bank site at 2 Morrissey Boulevard is also slated for development. Planning is underway to transform the former Bayside Expo Center site into “Dorchester Bay City,” a mix of housing, retail and public space spread over more than two dozen acres. The projects join “Hub 25,” the apartment complex that opened next to JFK/UMass MBTA station five years ago.

City planning officials in January signed off on the 780 Morrissey project, which calls for a 219-unit apartment complex with 136 parking spaces.

The Phillips family, which controls Boston Bowl, Phillips Candy House and the Ramada, owns both the 780 Morrissey and 800 Morrissey parcels, and is working with the New Jersey-based Michaels Organization on developing the sites. Lawrence-based Cube3 is the architect on both projects.

The Ramada hotel at 800 Morrissey is at the “end of its useful economic life and requiring significant investment to remain competitive,” the developer’s filing said. “The new building will slightly mirror 780 Morrissey, in order to create the feeling of cousins  with  some  slight  similarities,  but  a distinctly  different  look  and  feel,” the Michaels Organization said in its filing.

Michaels Organization first filed their letter of intent with city planners in July; additional filings came in September. The public comment period is slated to end Dec. 20.

The project is expected to provide 290 construction jobs.

With an eye on sea-level rise, the finished first floor will be elevated “multiple feet” above Morrissey Boulevard, with the expectation that the thoroughfare, which frequently floods, will eventually be raised as well. The project also plans to install all-electric heating, cooling and hot water systems.

A shuttle bus is planned for residents of both 780 and 800 Morrissey, making runs to the JFK/UMass Red Line and commuter rail station down the road. The site is also expected to have a car-sharing service and the lobby will have screens showing bus and rail transportation information for residents. (The site is close to MBTA Routes 201 and 202, which run along Morrissey Boulevard, and the 210 route runs by Neponset Avenue.)

A new bike lounge at 800 Morrissey is meant to complement a bike-centric plaza planned for 780 Morrissey. The amenities include “wall  graphics,  bottle  filling  stations and  an  area  dedicated  to  working on bicycles, in addition to exclusive bike storage opportunities,” the developer said in its September filing.

The amenity will be next to a multi-use path planned by the state Department of Conservation and Recreation and connect to the Neponset Trail.

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