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Suffolk Downs: A Redevelopment of a Mixed-Use Neighborhood

Suffolk Downs East Boston megaproject, Boston Herald, 2020

Boston has long been a business and cultural hub in the United States, but the 21st century has seen a boom for our city. The population has grown by nearly 130,000 – a 23% increase – since 1980.

With so many people living and working in the city, developers are working hard to build neighborhoods and office spaces to house them. And recently, real estate company HYM Investment Group announced that they would be providing Bostonians with a brand-new neighborhood: Suffolk Downs.

The History of Suffolk Downs

Suffolk Downs has been a part of the Boston community since 1935 when it first opened as a Thoroughbred race track. While the 10.5-million square foot property was not a place to live or work, it was a popular gathering place where Bostonians could watch famous horses like Seabiscuit, Whirlaway, and Cigar compete.

The race track has had a checkered history, with a closure in the 1980s, a reopening in the 90s, and a brief attempt to open a casino on the property in the 2010s. But in 2019, Suffolk Downs held their final season of live racing. Then, they handed the reins over to HYM Investment group, who plan to transform the land into a mixed-use neighborhood.

Built for the Future

The new Suffolk Downs will be a place to work, shop, play, and live. The land, which has long been disconnected from the community (outside of race days), will be reintegrated into Boston, with two stops on the MBTA’s Blue Line helping residents connect with the rest of the city.

The development will feature a variety of properties, from neighborhood retail and housing, to innovation centers and parks – all connected by walkable sidewalks and bike paths. The developers plan on erecting two retail squares (one at each Blue Line station), so residents and businesses have access to shops, pharmacies, and entertainment venues.

But perhaps most importantly, Suffolk Downs is dedicated to sustainability. The developers have adopted forward-thinking strategies to address the potential impacts of climate change (such as rising sea levels). Structures will feature “green design,” and developers will aim to create a resilient and sustainable environment that will last for years to come.

The Suffolk Downs redevelopment group is run by HYM Investment Group, headed by Thomas N. O’Brien (managing director), Paul Crisalli (director of operations), and Douglas J. Manz (director of development).

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