Editorial | Tracking Dot’s development boom

There’s a lot of buzz in the neighborhood at the moment about the latest churn of development decisions being weighed by city officials, and to some extent, with the advice and consent of residents themselves.

It can be a lot to absorb in one sitting— let alone in multiple volumes of this newspaper— so let’s take a step back and review a few of the more pressing decisions that are imminent.

Comfort Inn.
The proposal by Pine Street Inn and The Community Builders to convert the existing hotel at 900 Morrissey Blvd. into supportive housing for formerly homeless people has been fraught with controversy. A deadline for public comment came and went a month ago, and there was a hefty amount of input from neighbors, the majority of it leaning against the proposal. Elected officials based in the Neponset area have been clearly opposed. Others, including this author, have made the case that the conversion would improve the situation at the present address and lock-in much needed, trained supervision on site.

But the project has not yet been scheduled for a vote in front of the Boston Planning and Development Agency’s board. The proponents have made it clear that they intend to move forward. It’s not clear at this point what’s behind the delay.

•Dorchester Bay City.
On Monday, the redevelopment of the former Bayside Expo Center and surroundings received what might have been its last public hearing before BPDA board consideration begins. (See story on Page One). The project has been under intense review for more than two years, a pace and scope that befits its massive footprint, price tag, and gravitational pull. The financing for the deal, which includes a long-term lease critical to the build-out plans at UMass Boston, hinges on city permitting. The principal parties are praying hard for resolution by the summer.

• 150 Centre St.
A proposal by Trinity Financial to build a four-story residential complex next to Shawmut MBTA station has become a lightning-rod issue in that immediate neighborhood. The BPDA has now set March 2 as the date for a virtual public meeting with a closing of the public comment period just two days later, on March 4. (See page 16.) There’s already been a torrent of comment in the pages of the Reporter and in community meetings. But the pace of the BPDA schedule would indicate that March 2 will bring the penultimate debate on the merits of this important project.

• 1320 Dorchester Ave.
A proposal to build a six-story residential/commercial building with 70 units of housing and room for a ground-floor restaurant space went through its most recent round of public hearings back in late December. It will go before the BPDA board on Feb. 16.

• 13 Norwood St.
A proposal to build a 52-unit apartment complex with parking for 50 vehicles on this Neponset side street was the subject of a virtual meeting in November and comments that closed in December. The project has not yet been scheduled for a BPDA board vote.

March is likely to be a busy month on the Dorchester development front. Stay tuned.

Subscribe to the Dorchester Reporter