LNR Land Buy Paves Way for SouthField Development

LNR has finalized a deal on 830 acres of land, which gives the company the final piece of property earmarked for the planned $2.5 billion SouthField development near Boston.

December 16, 2011
By Nicholas Ziegler, News Editor

It’s not a small thing to boast of a $2.5 billion development, but it’s also not a small thing to close on the deal that secures the project’s final land rights either. But LNR Property L.L.C. has done just that, by purchasing 830 acres of land from the U.S. Navy at Southfield – formerly the site of the South Weymouth Naval Air Station – for $25 million.

Kevin Chase, regional vice president of LNR, characterized the entire SouthField development as “an economic engine for the entire region,” one that bring 6,000 construction jobs and 4,000 permanent jobs to the area. SouthField, just 12 miles from Boston, will feature 2,855 units of housing and 2 million square feet of commercial and retail space upon completion, as well as more than 1,000 acres of parks and open space. Former Red Sox general manager Dan Duquette, along with soccer star Kristine Lilly, will jointly develop a $20 million sports-and-recreation complex.

The development is meant to be transit-oriented, and SouthField Highlands, the community’s first residential neighborhood, is located within walking distance to the South Weymouth commuter rail station. Massachusetts has invested $45 million in transit improvements to build the East-West Parkway, which will connect the development to existing roads. The federal government has committed $8 million for other transit improvements.

The entire project has been on hold for some time. According to the Associated Press, the Navy approved a plan to reuse the base in 1999, but found the ideas scrapped by state environmental officials. A revised plan was proposed in 2008, but economic factors stalled development.

“Southfield is the largest active development anywhere in this area, and its long term importance to the region and the Commonwealth cannot be understated,” said U.S. Rep. William Keating, who represents the district, in the Boston Globe.