800 Morrissey developer, state in accord on key multi-use path

Developers of 800 Morrissey Blvd. included this map of the project and its environs.

New Jersey-based Michaels Organization, the developer behind 800 Morrissey, a project comprising a six-story building with 229 residences rising up next to Boston Bowl, says it has reached an agreement in principle with state officials to maintain a multi-use path behind the project as part of the Department of Conservation and Recreation’s push to add a new section to the Neponset Greenway Trail. Running along the eastern embankment of I-93, the trail, which currently terminates at the beach’s northern end, would connect Tenean Beach and Morrissey Boulevard.

Construction on the new path, originally scheduled to start this fall, has been pushed back to the spring, with the agency aiming to complete it by the summer of 2025.

Jay Russo, vice president of the Michaels Organization, announced the agreement at a Nov. 10 public meeting on the 800 Morrissey development. The Michaels team is working with the property owners, the Phillips Group, which also operates Boston Bowl and the Phillips Candy House, on developing both 800 Morrissey and 780 Morrissey next door. The 780 project, which has 219 apartments planned, is already under construction, having received approval from city officials in January 2021.

Russo outlined the agreement as part of several mitigation measures coming out of the 800 Morrissey project, which calls for tearing down the Ramada Inn that currently occupies the site.

For users of the multi-use path, amenities will include a water fountain, bicycle stands, and repair stations, as well as signs pointing to restrooms inside Boston Bowl, located at 850 Morrissey, that will be available from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. A Bluebikes station will be installed by the project site.
Russo also said that Michaels plans to contribute up to $60,000 to fund the planning, design, and construction of pedestrian improvements at the intersection of Morrissey Boulevard and Tenean and Freeport streets. They also plan to design and build new sidewalks and add landscaping along Freeport, in front of 800 Morrissey.

Separately, he said, Michaels plans to designate 15 percent, or 34, of the residences as affordable, including six 2-bedroom units.

As additional mitigation, he added, Michaels will contribute $70,000 to a city fund at the Mayor’s Office of Housing to create affordable or income-restricted housing. The organization is also planning to contribute $150,000 to a Dorchester-based jobs training program, or, if needed, a similar program as determined by the Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA).

The team that owns The Beat, the former Boston Globe headquarters that is set to house biotech and fitness apparel companies up the road, is working to create a job training program specifically focused on the life sciences industry.

“We’re hopeful that will get worked out in the short term,” Russo said.

Like its 780 Morrissey sibling, 800 Morrissey, where plans call for all-electric heating, cooling and hot water systems, will provide a shuttle to the JFK/UMass MBTA station and a “work-from-home plaza” will connect 780 and 800 Morrissey, a nod to the Covid-19 pandemic pushing more people to work from home rather than head to downtown offices.

For residencies at 800 Morrissey, the developers are targeting a demographic that is typically less car-dependent and focused on biking.

The 780 Morrissey project had its own mitigation measures, including a $100,000 contribution to design efforts for improvements to Tenean Beach.

The two projects are part of a development boom occurring along the Morrissey Boulevard corridor, which has sparked the creation of a state commission to ponder the future of the area as rising sea levels threaten the thoroughfare and local properties.

Local civic activists have also raised concerns about the thousands of new residents and workers who will come to the corridor, as projects like the $5 billion Dorchester Bay City proposal at Columbia Point make their way through the city’s development approvals process.

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