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Accordia, UMass Boston Sign $235M Bayside Expo Deal

The Bayside Expo property on Columbia Point

A deal that has the potential to turn a stretch of Dorchester’s waterfront into yet another Boston innovation district is moving ahead. 

Accordia Partners has formalized a 99-year, $235M ground lease for the 20-acre Bayside Exposition Property owned by UMass Boston. The developer and Ares Management Corp. have plans for nearly 3.5M SF of mixed-use projects. 

“We appreciate the commitment that Accordia and Ares have demonstrated by agreeing to lease terms that maximize the present value return to UMass and for being willing to invest in complementary off-site infrastructure,” UMass Building Authority Chair Victor Woolridge said in a prepared statement. 

UMass Boston bought the former convention site in 2010 for $18.7M, and the property has been tied to a variety of failed proposals. It was pitched as an athletes’ village during Boston’s failed 2024 Summer Olympics bid, and the Kraft Group tried and failed to secure it as a site for a new stadium for the New England Revolution Major League Soccer team. 

UMass began reaching out to developers in 2017 to find ways to redevelop the Bayside property and selected the Accordia partnership in February. Many Boston real estate circles expect the site to have some element of life science and innovation in its tenant mix, especially given its proximity to the university and nearby JFK/UMass Red Line station. 

Accordia told Bisnow in late February it was too early to say what the final build-out of the Bayside property would look like and that it had a long community process ahead. The deal with UMass is expected to close after Accordia and Ares finish the approvals process, which is expected to take two years. 

“A robust community engagement process is [a] critical first step in creating a dynamic new gateway to the entire peninsula and increase connectivity between the UMass Boston campus, the surrounding communities, the MBTA’s JFK/UMass station and the Boston HarborWalk,” Accordia Partners leaders Kirk Sykes and Richard Galvin said in a prepared statement. “We look forward to engaging with the community and determining how the project can create shared benefits.”