362-unit Dot Block project could break ground by summer
Sign up for the Talking Points newsletter, a recap of the most important business news, delivered fresh each afternoon, Monday through Friday.
A major development planned for Dorchester has a new financial backer and construction could begin by early summer.
A little-known investment group, Wintergold, paid $19.1 million for the site — known as the Dot Block — located along Dorchester Avenue in Glover’s Corner, according to Suffolk County property records.
A spokeswoman for Dot Block said its previous developers, led by local retail veteran Sean Gildea, will continue to lead the design and construction of what will be the neighborhood’s largest such project in decades. They won key city approvals for the 362-unit apartment complex with ground-level shops earlier this year, then marketed the project to investors to finance the $150 million needed to move forward.
“Once we cleared (the Zoning Board of Appeals), we went out to look for a financial partner,” said Catherine O’Neill, a spokeswoman for the project. “We were delighted we got so many suitors.”
O’Neill wouldn’t identify the winning investor, which Suffolk County records indicate is Wintergold LLC, a recently-created company. An attorney at the law firm Mintz Levin who filed incorporation documents for Wintergold did not return messages seeking comment Thursday, nor did Gildea or a broker who reportedly worked on the deal. Wintergold also spent $1.9 million to buy a small lot adjacent to the nearly 4-acre Dot Block parcel, according to property records.
Gildea and the new backers of Dot Block are continuing to talk with the owners of a few small neighboring parcels, O’Neill said. They hope to acquire the properties to expand the project’s site at the corner of Dorchester Avenue and Hancock Street. O’Neill described the discussions as “fluid” but said the developers hope to start construction by June.
Dot Block is at the front of what could be a wave of projects that would transform one of the city’s classic three-decker and industrial neighborhoods.
Billionaire investor Gerald Chan last year spent $5.25 million to buy a 2-acre site across the street from Dot Block. It was Chan’s first major real estate investment outside Cambridge, where he owns several buildings in and around Harvard Square. Chan has not yet filed any development plans for the land with Boston officials. Smaller projects — both rehabs and new construction — are in progress in the Savin Hill section of Dorchester, including a 14-unit apartment building underway on Savin Hill Avenue.
The Boston Planning & Development Agency is preparing to start a planning study in January that will likely lead to the rezoning of a largely-industrial corridor that runs south from the Savin Hill Red Line Station along Dorchester Avenue and Freeport Street to Interstate 93. A similar rezoning just completed in South Boston will allow as many as 8,000 new housing units to be built across 144 acres over the next decade.
O’Neill, who lives in Savin Hill, considers Dot Block as the first in a series of dominos that, as they fall, will finally bring the fruits of Boston’s building boom to a part of town that so far has mostly missed out.
“For us, this isn’t just a redevelopment project,” she said. “This is a game-changer and we want to do it right. Our neighborhood has been left behind for too long.”