You won Megabucks? Dorchester’s now the place to pick up your dough

Harold Leonard of Lower Mills was among the first to buy scratch tickets at the new Lottery headquarters Tuesday morning.
Daniel Sheehan photo

Beginning this week, ticket holders who win spectacularly in Massachusetts Lottery drawings – more than $50,000 – will be making their way to Dorchester to pick up their treasure chests. The agency, which had operated out of Braintree since the mid-1990s, opened its new headquarters on Tuesday in the Corcoran Jennison Bayside Office Building at 150 Mt. Vernon St. on Columbia Point.

Also housed in the building are the State Registry of Vital Records and Statistics, UMass Boston classrooms, and the offices of the Dorchester Reporter.

“We’d been in the other facility for you know, 25 years, so there’s definitely a newer vibe here,” said the Lottery’s chief marketing officer, Ed Farley. “And it’s even the simple stuff,” he added, “technology stuff, having ports in the right places; things like that.”

The first-floor claim center, its entrance marked by a row of floor-to-ceiling windows, will be the new face of the Lottery to the public, Farley noted.

“We have multiple facilities where you’re able to cash prizes of $50,000 or below; this facility will be able to cash all the grand prize winners in excess of $50,000.” The space, he said, includes a “grand prize room,” an interview room, and an event room that the agency expects will eventually host some of the live televised drawings.

In total, the Lottery will occupy roughly 32,000 total square feet in the building. In addition to the 9,000 square feet of space on the first floor, there are some 23,000 square feet on the third floor that will house all other administrative operations.

Up there, roughly 120 employees from the organization’s marketing, sales, and design departments will take care of business while enjoying views of Dorchester Bay, Carson Beach, and the downtown skyline. Farley explained that the office was designed specifically with window space in mind; much of the old Braintree facility is windowless.

“We really tried to design the office so as many people as possible get this natural light flow, so it has an open feel to it,” he said.

“One of the things we tried to do is create collaborative work area spaces throughout the building to encourage people to, you know, get up, take their laptops, and go over some ideas without having to be in a formal conference room setting,” explained Farley.

The streamlined workspace reflects the Lottery’s efforts to promote a younger, more efficient vibe, which have been spearheaded by state Treasurer Deborah Goldberg’s vision to take the Lottery “to the future.”

At a Lottery Commission meeting last March, Goldberg named access to public transportation “a critical factor” for the agency, arguing that its Braintree location could make it harder to “appeal to a younger demographic.” The new headquarters, located steps from the JFK-UMass Red Line station and adjacent to the UMass Boston campus, addresses both of those concerns.

“Generally speaking, we’re looking to modernize our business in all aspects,” said the Lottery’s director of communication, Christian Teja, who pointed to the impending construction of The Beat, a 16-acre tech campus now being built on the former Boston Globe property on Morrissey Boulevard, as a positive sign of burgeoning growth in the area. “We got in at just the right time,” he said.

Teja noted that some of the lottery’s assets – its warehouse, distribution center, data center – will remain in Braintree “for the time being. We’ll maintain a footprint on the South Shore.”

Goldberg’s decision to move the Lottery headquarters to Dorchester has drawn criticism, largely driven by the comparatively high cost – a ten-year lease totaling more than $15 million, which Lottery Executive Director Michael Sweeney noted is “significantly higher than the old lease.”

But from the vantage point of the new third-floor headquarters on Columbia Point, Lottery employees are adjusting quickly. “It has been a really great team effort from the folks at the lottery,” said Farley. “They’ve really come together and really made this move rather seamless.”