Reshaping Revere Beach

Like a storm-driven sea slamming into a beach one wave after another, the transformation reshaping Revere Beach into a cutting-edge development is continuing unabated.

New residential developments fronting the beach rub shoulders with ones slated to open soon. Where once there were vacant lots and weathered real estate company billboards promising future development, there are now modern high-rises facing across the water in the direction of Boston and the renters who might be tempted to stop paying big city rents and make an exodus nine mere miles north to Revere.

Revere Beach’s revival really began in earnest two, maybe three, years ago when the last traces of the economic collapse of 10 years ago finally faded away. Revere Beach may be covered with three miles-worth of sand, but developers see prosperity and money to be made when they stand on the edge of the city and gaze out at the ocean.

A sure sign that development is not slackening in Revere is the city site plan review Tuesday of a proposed 175-room hotel at 49 Revere Beach Boulevard and a proposed 75-unit apartment building at 90 Ocean Ave.

Both developments represent potential next additions to the rapidly-evolving transformation of Revere’s waterfront into a vision mapped out years, even decades ago by developers and local elected officials.

The Eurovest project proposal unveiled 14 years ago envisioned residential high-rises and hotels on Ocean Avenue. State officials stepped up to push the project into first gear by building a parking garage on North Shore Road connected to the Wonderland Blue Line station and a pedestrian bridge connecting the station to Ocean Avenue.

New construction along Ocean Avenue and Revere Beach and plans for more projects show how far Revere has gone in a relatively short period of time to build on, and then outpace the Eurovest idea.

Revere city leaders have almost reached the advantageous but complicated threshold where they must decide between putting the brakes on development to ensure infrastructure needs keep pace with new construction.

Revere is the envy of hundreds of communities where local leaders wish they had development moving at a fast pace. But big development means planning for public safety, road upkeep, school enrollment and other municipal improvements.

With those improvements in mind, councilors want a traffic study of major beach-area roadways, including Revere Beach Boulevard, undertaken with state assistance. That study won’t happen overnight and is probably better executed in conjunction with traffic analysis looking at future development at Suffolk Downs and on the Wonderland Greyhound Park site.

Beachfront development is a gently-lapping wave compared to the tsunami that will hit Revere once the two track sites become construction projects.

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