With so much development popping up in different neighborhoods within Boston’s downtown core, it’s interesting to see that same level of activity in two of Boston’s most infamous outer neighborhoods: Southie and Dorchester.
As a Southie resident living a stone’s throw from the Dorchester line, I am astounded by the sheer volume of construction on every other one-way street and the countless triple-decker houses being gutted to prepare for new construction. One project I have been following is the new mixed-use development at South Bay in Dorchester. Driving along I-93, you can identify the site’s big-box retailers, including Home Depot, Target, T.J.Maxx, Stop & Shop and the Olive Garden.
EDENS, the developer, wants to transform and expand the existing strip mall, where shoppers rarely interact with one another and cars drive through the vast parking lots passing each other like ships in the night. EDENS is attempting to turn this 500,000-square-foot project into the newest community destination.
If your interest is as piqued as mine, read on to see what this new era of development promises to bring.
Looking for Things to Do?
South Bay Center never successfully functioned as a vibrant town center; it’s location between busy roads and highways has caused the development to lack a sense of place, as well as engaging offerings that entice community interaction. The new South Bay wants to change this sentiment and make it “the place to be” in Dorchester.
The new development will connect directly to Dorchester proper via Boston Street, instead of the more vehicle-heavy Southampton Street. The plans include a central, meandering ‘Main Street’ where pedestrians will be able to walk, shop and dine at their leisure. Visitors will have options for entertainment, whether that’s seeing a movie at the AMC theatre (which hopes to open in time for the Star Wars premiere on December 15), shopping at Ulta, or grabbing lunch at Wahlburgers. In addition, the South Bay development will host a hotel to welcome not only people from the surrounding communities, but also guests from out of town.
Need to Get to South Bay?
The MBTA’s Red Line is a main artery for commuters. Straddling the Southie/Dorchester line, the Andrew Square station is a 10-minute walk from South Bay and the Newmarket Commuter Rail stop is seven minutes away. There is an existing free shuttle service to South Bay from Andrew Square, which EDENS hopes to keep running. There is also a crosstown bus that goes from Southie to the Longwood Medical Area in 15 minutes, with no traffic. For those driving, free parking is planned for retail customers.
Wish You Could Live Here?
The residential component of the South Bay development is still missing a name, but when its two distinct towers are complete, 475 residential units will be available. Future residents can look forward to installations by local artists, plenty of indoor and outdoor spaces to relax in at the end of a work day, and covered parking within each of the development’s five buildings. Move-ins are anticipated for late summer 2018.
The South Bay expansion is only the tip of the iceberg for large-scale developments in the Southie/Dorchester area. For example, signs announcing Washington Village at the site of the former Loyal Crown Linen Service have been up for the past few months. The 80-year-old Loyal Crown smokestack was recently demolished, revealing sweeping views of the Boston skyline and providing a blank canvas for the developers.
And stay tuned for more big changes at the former Boston Globe headquarters on Morrissey Boulevard and the cluster of food service warehouses within Widett Circle. Before long, the pace of development in Dorchester and Southie may even outstrip the activity in Downtown Boston.