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Horses To Housing: HYM Plots New Future For Suffolk Downs

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Horses To Housing: HYM Plots New Future For Suffolk Downs
Suffolk Downs in East Boston is reportedly Boston's leading HQ2 bid site.

With dwindling horse races and a failed bid to win a casino license, Suffolk Downs could finally find new life as hub for much-needed housing in Boston.

HYM Investment Group bought the 161-acre horse track for $155M in a deal believed to have closed Friday, the Boston Globe reports. The complex’s new owner has plans to turn the site into a bigger version of Somerville’s Assembly Row or Boston Landing in Brighton. 

The project, estimated to cost billions over more than a decade of construction, has significant potential due to its proximity to two stations on the MBTA’s Blue Line. HYM managing director Tom O’Brien told the Globe he envisioned ground-level retail and restaurants with housing above in the project's initial phases. Office space could come later. 

The site has been identified in the Boston Planning & Development Agency’s Imagine Boston 2030 plan as a prime opportunity to tackle the city’s cries for more affordable housing. The master plan says the city needs 50,000 more units of housing to continue to be able to sustain its population growth.

HYM was also heavily involved in Cambridge’s NorthPoint development, serving as lead developer on the site where thousands of units of housing and office space are planned around the delayed Green Line Extension. The site was sold to developer DivcoWest in 2015, and HYM now serves as a development adviser on the project.