The Boston Business Journal reports that two groups active in fighting gentrification have asked the Trump administration to hold up any federal housing funds for Boston because of what it says are inadequate efforts to involve Spanish-speaking residents in planning for the proposed 10,000-unit residential component of the massive Suffolk Downs project.
Sanders, running in the Democratic primary next week, immediately jumped into the fray over the project, which would replace the shuttered, 160-acre Suffolk Downs racetrack on the Boston/Revere line:
We need affordable housing for all instead of more gentrifying luxury developments for the few. I stand with the longtime residents of East Boston fighting displacement from the communities they have spent generations building.
Lawyers for Civil Rights filed the complaint for City Life/Vida Urbana and Green Roots, over the roughly 70% of the units that would be built on the Boston side of the land.
In addition to the residential units on the 160 acre site, developer HYM is also proposing roughly 5.2 million square feet of office space, roughly half in Boston, as well as a new mall and hotel rooms.
Revere Mayor Brian Arrigo got up in Bernie's grill:
In all seriousness- I agree that MA residents should have better access to all types of housing. That’s why we engaged in a year long community driven process and collaborated with many stakeholders to make one of the largest developments in MA history a reality.
And finally just to be clear - Suffolk Downs is 1/3 in my city. Being an executive means making decisions that require compromise - nobody got everything they wanted but the end result was a positive for the community.
Boston City Councilor Lydia Edwards jumped into the fray as well:
Good evening this is the district city councilor from East Boston. Don't worry @BernieSanders I have a PLAN FOR THAT!
So, yeah, you can probably guess who Edwards is supporting on Tuesday. But she continues:
Last May, I filed a comment with the Boston Planning and Development Agency asking the agency and developer to amend plans to address fair housing concerns and ensure that as we create a new neighborhood we build for all of East Bostonians. ...
I also introduced a zoning change to further fair housing and put racial equity in Boston's zoning code last April. We had a hearing in November and another one today.
Thomas O'Brien, HYM's managing director - and a onetime executive director of the BRA - responded as well, in a statement:
We agree that Boston needs more affordable housing. That’s why our plans for Suffolk Downs will create the largest amount of affordable housing ever created by a single project in Massachusetts. The project includes 10,000 new housing units, with 20% affordable overall, while creating 14,000 union jobs. And by redeveloping a shuttered horse racing track, we are adding to the communities of East Boston and Revere without displacing a single resident.
Suffolk Downs filings (includes two overviews in Spanish posted today).