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Developer wins approval to replace old Freeport Tavern in Dorchester with studio-heavy apartment building

Propososed view of new building

View from across Morrissey Boulevard by Cube3.

Correction: The original story said this would replace the Phillips Candy House. It's replacing the Freeport Tavern.

The Zoning Board of Appeal today approved a developer's plans to replace the Freeport Tavern on Morrissey Boulevard with 219 apartments - some 110 of them the studios the developer says all the kids these days are clamoring for.

"That's a very large number of studios," board Chairwoman Christine Araujo marveled, noting that while studios were all the rage in other Boston neighborhoods three years ago, these days developers in the rest of the city are concentrating on two-bedroom units.

Jay Russo of developer the Michaels Organization, though, said his company's research showed a market among young professionals for smaller living, that, when combined with a complimentary shuttle bus to the JFK/UMass Red Line station and Logan Airport and a Blue Bikes station should prove quite attractive to that set.

The studios, along with 88 one-bedroom units and 28 two-bedroom units will sit in a building with two wings, one five stories, the other six, with a view on one side towards Dorchester Bay. The building will have 136 parking spaces. The side of the complex facing the Expressway and a planned bike path will have an "art mural wall."

The mayor's office and the office of Councilor Frank Baker supported the proposal. The BPDA board had earlier approved the project.

One person who opposed the project was Maria Lyons, who served on the advisory board the BPDA set up for the project. She said that Dorchester is already cut off form its waterfront by the Southeast Expressway, Morrissey Boulevard and the train tracks and that the zoning board was setting a bad precedent that could lead to a wall of buildings that would just further cut off the neighborhood from its eponymous bay.

Lyons actually spoke after the board voted unanimously to approve the project, due to an apparent snafu with its Webex online conferencing system, in which nobody noticed Lyons had her virtual hand up until she began complaining loudly verbally. However, the board did not change its vote after she did speak.

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This is the former Phillip's Old Colony House or for those of you old enough, where Blinstrub's moved after it burned down in South Boston.

Candy House is on the other side of the hotel next to Boston Bowl (Same Family Owns the hotel / the bowling alley, the candy house, and this site).

Candy House is not going anywhere. Better not Be.

As far as the complainer getting cut off from the Bay, the railroad has cut off most of Dot from the water south of Savin Hill since 1845. If the complainer doesn't know how to get to Tenean or Troy's Island, then perhaps they haven't tried. There is so much more open space now along Dorchester Bay / The Neponset than since about 1870. Lots more.

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Story fixed.

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Not building per se. The "complainer" is one of the people who fought for 30 years to get the hazardous waste site in Port Norfolk cleaned up, so that all people could access the waterfront. She also advocated for extension of the bike path to Mattapan, as a long term member of the Neponset River Greenway Council. That has made it possible for people from Mattapan to bike along the river and use places like Tenean Beach. She is a board member of the Neponset River Watershed Association. She has done these things while being a full time teacher and mother to three children. Very easy to sit back and criticize someone when you don't know the facts. BTW, "Troy's Island" has been taken over by professional dog walkers, after MDC spent millions cleaning that site, stabilizing the shoreline, and building the bridge. Now neither DCR nor MSP will put in the effort to enforce the law, and protect that asset or the environment.

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What/where is Troy's Island? This is the first I've heard of it. Perhaps I know it by a different name?

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Next to the gas tank where people walk their dogs. Rainbow Park.

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Is the old name for the pile of rocks south of the gas tank / Victory Road abutting the Expressway.

Judge Troy, I believe a Dorchester District Court judge, in the late 60's / early 70's decided that he was going to build a marina there and started dumping rocks and other material.

He was stopped because what he was doing was illegal. The pile of rocks sat there until the latter Dukakis years when it was terraformed into a park. The bridge is made from a wood that does not rot easily.

As mentioned somewhere here, the dog mafia has taken over the park, so therefore it is not a park, but a de facto dog park like Stodder's Neck in Hingham.

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Review of "Victory Road Park" on Yelp:

“There is a dirt parking lot and you walk over a wooden bridge (only way in and out) and you're in doggie heaven.”

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Victory Road park

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That is what you may know it as. Because that is what some very selfish dog owners / walkers have done to it so it is not fit for anyone else to use. Sad.

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Its officially designated a dog friendly park now and called Victory Road Park. So no mafia took it over, it was designated by the state, since it resides withing a state park. It even has rules: Max four dogs per person allowed.

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When I first started walking my dog there over 10 years ago, there were people shooting up in the parking lot and trash everywhere. The dog walkers who go there do 2 yearly park clean ups to get rid of the litter from the highway and stuff that comes ashore. They maintain that park far better than the state does and because it is so heavily used by dog owners, it no longer feels unsafe to be there. There are tons of other places for people to go to fish, play with their kids, etc.

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There is no trash removal, or trash cans for dog poop. There is also no gate. I had a scary experience with my dog. She decided to trot home, the faster i ran after, the faster she would go. She actually crossed the highway exit before stopping. I never went back after that.

there are sensible ways of mitigating dog waste, but they are not free. They should raise money to make it a proper dog park.

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Correct. It is a park for everyone but because so many selfish dog walkers and owners have turned it into one inly dogs can use it
And you should have had your fog on a leash.

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I took my dog there once, about ten years ago. I had high hopes, but quickly dashed.
No separate off-leash area, so you were out of luck if you didn't want to mix.
Bigger problem was simply "not much area". You've got maybe one path - then so much of the rest is tall grass, brush, mud (and loose dogs). With a long-hair dog, especially - there's nothing special about the walk there that I couldn't get somewhere else and/or that would be worth the cleaning work needed after.

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As an NepWRA member for over 20 years, even though I haven't lived near the Neponset in over 20 years, cleaning up things is great. Great! However, to complain that a building is "cutting off" Dorchester from the waterfront is stupid and unproductive.

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How would this building "cut off" access any more than the expressway already does? It's not like they are blocking one of the two roads in that area which go under the highway.

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The complainer lives in Port Norfolk, she is speaking about her neighborhood being cut-off.

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You mean the place where the state spent millions 15 years ago creating a park where the Stearns lumber yard was for over 100 years? Thereby opening up acres of land that block water access? That Port Norfolk?

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The x-way cutting off the neighborhood. No one complained about Port Norfolk being cut-off from the water.

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If you moved into the Port after 1958, you've don't have much of a leg to stand on about the X-Way cutting things off.

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Does it matter? You care about a lot of Dot/Boston issues and you moved to the south shore years ago.

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Won't that be fun.

Besides, I've seen you comment on Camberville items. Should you since you don't live there?

Last time I checked all of the parks (which I use) along the Neponset are state property.

Besides, I have had a job in downtown Boston since most of you were in diapers in Simsbury, suburban Wayne County, Shaker Heights, and Ridgewood. I'll say whatever I want.

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“So, she has lived there since 1958?

By John Costello on Tue, 03/23/2021 - 5:36pm.
If you moved into the Port after 1958, you've don't have much of a leg to stand on about the X-Way cutting things off.”

It was a response to your reply. Comment all you want, I usually agree with you.

Diapers in where? My family has lived in this neighborhood since the 1800’s.

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GO YOU DEVELOPERS!!!

219 units of what will end up being temporary lodging for transient students. Check with full time Alston/Brighton residents to see how that works out for them.
Ideally, all that land could have down a small bit to help alleviate the housing crisis in Boston.
Oh well.

What an awful idea.

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Citations needed.

Where are your data on this coming from?

Deer Island is not an answer.

And how, exactly does housing for single adults NOT ease the housing market?

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People that live in studios go out to socialize and come home to sleep and study. Students living in apartments meant for families party and disrupt. Dorchester has very few studio apartments. It is about time there were more small units in an area that is affordable enough to make it actually affordable.

I wonder if you could eke out a walking path on the west side of the expressway. It would be a faster walk to the viaduct to Tenean beach.

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I am hopeful that this combined with the Harbor Walk/Bike Trail connection around the highway ramp pulls some of the UMass students out of the established neighborhoods and into these units. The pandemic has been eye opening how the students really drive the rental market in the city. Give transient students a place to live and the rents drop.

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Having MORE people living in the area is great. Hopefully that will mean a better street scape, and more attention to the greenway path along that corridor. Dorchester is a waterfront community separated its the waterfront except for in a few places. The Neponset Greenway is a miracle, honestly what a pleasure to have that now. It is great to see all the people using it.
But would be even better if the irresponsible dog owners would do the right thing and curb their dogs.

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Perhaps we should consider changing the name of our fine city from Boston to Boxton with
more "box" building development. It's easy and fitting to replace the "S" with "X" on signage.
Welcome to BOXTON !

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There’s not enough parking.

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That bus is the other side of a busy street, during the mid day shopping hours. Otherwise it is on Neponset Ave, not too far but up hill. I think they are planning a shuttle service, though. The 201 could definitely be adjusted to serve this building.

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