The Bay State Banner - Edwards keeps eye on Suffolk Downs
Wednesday, March 20, 2019
Suffolk Downs, a vast tract of vacant land in East Boston, could soon become Boston’s newest neighborhood, with 10,000 units of housing planned — nearly four times the number of units in the South Boston Waterfront.
While the Seaport District has been widely criticized for its expensive micro-units and lack of diversity — just 94 blacks live among the 3,443 residents counted in the neighborhood — the HYM Investment Group’s plans for the Suffolk Downs site may not be much different. District 1 City Councilor Lydia Edwards said HYM Investments is planning a neighborhood with rents and condo prices that will exclude most current East Boston residents.
“When you look at how they envision themselves, it is to our total exclusion,” she said. “They don’t see us there — our incomes, our family sizes — none of that is in their plan.”
Although the developers’ plans call for 1,000 of the units to be affordable, in accordance with the city’s Inclusionary Development Policy, that policy allows for incomes as high as $74,500 a year, far above the average individual income of $38,000 in East Boston. Edwards also points to HYM Investments’ estimates of 1.5 people per unit in their development, lower than even the Seaport Districts 1.7 people per unit and far below the current 2.6 per unit in East Boston.
“We have babies,” Edwards said. “We have families. We are an immigrant community.”