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HYM Secures $775M Investment, Breaks Ground On 16M SF Suffolk Downs Development

HYM Investment Group and its partners held a groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday to signify the start of construction at Suffolk Downs, a 161-acre former horse racing track that is planned to feature more than 16M SF of mixed-use development. 

At the groundbreaking for the project's first phase, HYM founding partner and Managing Director Thomas O’Brien announced a joint venture partnership with National Real Estate Advisors, which he said will invest $775M toward the development's first 4,200 multifamily units over the next eight years.

A ceremonial groundbreaking for the historic Suffolk Downs development took place on Tuesday. The development will bring 10,000 apartment units, 5.2M SF of life sciences and commercial space and over 400K SF of retail space to East Boston and Revere.

The Suffolk Downs project is ultimately planned to total 16.2M SF of development including 10,000 apartment units, 5.2M SF of life sciences and commercial space, 450K SF of retail space and 40 acres of parks and open space. The property includes land in Revere and Boston, and officials said the project is the largest in either city's history. 

“Today's groundbreaking represents the future of the city of Revere," Revere Mayor Brian Arrigo told Bisnow at the groundbreaking. "The ability to create short-term union jobs that will be beneficial to our families and our residents and then the long-term career opportunities and economic opportunities for people to build wealth around industries like life sciences.” 

The first phase will include 100 Salt St., Revere’s first large-scale biomanufacturing facility. The 280K SF facility will sit next to the Beachmont MBTA station and is anticipated to be completed by 2023 with tenants moving in the following year.

O’Brien said at the groundbreaking the project is an "amazing opportunity to create a campus that is unique for our region."

The initial phase also features the first of many apartment complexes planned for the site. Branded as Amaya, the building is planned to include 475 units ranging from micro-units to two-bedroom units. It will also include 24K SF of ground-floor retail space and 34K SF of amenities. The project was designed by Boston-based ICON Architecture and is planned to deliver in the second quarter of 2024.

HYM founding partner and Managing Director Tom O'Brien speaking at the Suffolk Downs groundbreaking.

Over the course of the next two decades as the development moves forward, 18,000 new union-based construction jobs will be created through a project labor agreement, the team says. The PLA was made in partnership with IBEW Local 103 and NECA and will put $2M toward recruiting Revere and East Boston residents to join the project and diversify the job force brought on by Suffolk Downs. 

"This project and this historic project labor agreement should be a model for development in the city of Boston," said Lou Antonellis, IBEW’s business manager and financial secretary, during the ceremony. "The following projects can provide low- and moderate-income housing. They can be built affordably with all-union labor, and they can be inclusive to everyone in our community.”

The construction of the biomanufacturing facility is the first building of a life sciences campus that will eventually house 20,000 full-time employees, O'Brien said. 

"A place where people make $65K to $70K starting salary with no college education, and just simply training. That's our opportunity," Mass Life Sciences Center CEO Kenneth Turner said to the crowd. "We will literally change the complexion of the life science workforce."

The Suffolk Downs construction site in Revere.

Before HYM began plans to develop Suffolk Downs, the land was considered for a casino under a different development company. After HYM bought the land for $155M in 2017, it placed a bid for Amazon HQ2.

The site ran into issues last year as flooding wreaked havoc in the area amid the worst storms the city has seen in decades. This forced HYM to deal with the issue of how to deal with the flooding that could occur in the future from the adjacent Sales Creek.

Revere Mayor Brian Arrigo spoke at the groundbreaking to commemorate the efforts to preserve the two cities by creating new jobs and housing opportunities for residents.

Other speakers at the groundbreaking included National Chief Investment Officer Kevin Verdi, MassBio CEO Joseph Boncore, Mass Life Sciences Center CEO Kenneth Turner, NECA Executive Manager Kristin Gowin, John Moriarty & Associates CEO John Moriarty, IBEW Local 103’s Lou Antonellis, Building Pathways Executive Director Mary Vogel and City Councilor Joanna McKenna, Council President Gerry Visconti, and Reps. Jessica Giannino and Jeffrey Turco.

"We spent five years doing community engagement, planning and development. So, to now be able to move forward, is really wonderful. We've got 400 people here today and it's a really nice send-out," O'Brien told Bisnow.