Hey, there! Log in / Register

BPDA getting ready to re-advertise long vacant parcel across from police HQ for housing, local shops and restaurants and maybe life-sciences labs

The BPDA has posted its final draft RFP for the 7.6-acre field of scrub, grass and parking lots on Tremont Street, across from BPD headquarters, which has been vacant since it was almost all bulldozed in the 1960s for an I-95 extension that was never built.

The BPDA will be seeking developers willing to commit to way more affordable housing than required for privately owned land as well as locally owned shops, internships and other programs tied to two neighboring high schools, arts, maybe a museum and lots of trees for the parcel. Specifically not preferred: National-chain big-box stores, of the sort that were included in a previous proposal for the so-called P-3 parcel, which the BPDA canceled in 2019 after a development group of a local non-profit and a builder couldn't break ground after 12 years.

Under the proposal, buildings should not exceed 150 feet talle unless they "clearly demonstrate the greater benefits to the community" of extra height.

The proposal starts with what the BPDA is looking for in general:

Proponents should use development as a catalyst to promote the arts, culture, education, commercial, and retail enterprise in the area. Neighborhood cultural amenities such as museums, art galleries, bookstores, entertainment venues, performance spaces and artist live/work spaces are strongly favored. Amenities and programming associated with the Crescent Parcel should activate the area in the evening, encouraging residents to "stay local" to support Nubian Square businesses for their entertainment, shopping and dining experiences.

In addition, the Property should be developed in a manner that supports the economic growth of the district by providing opportunities for area residents to participate in expanding sectors of Boston’s economy. Proposals should include a mix of uses on the Property that will generate wealth throughout the community and will generate new employment prospects in education, health, medicine, bio and life sciences and/or finance.

It then gets more detailed.

At least two-thirds of any housing units have to be "income-restricted affordable housing with one third targeting low and moderate income households and one third targeting middle income households." Private developers in Boston normally only have to set aside 13% of their units.

For apartments, that would mean setting aside between 30% and 50% of units for people making no more than half the Boston area median income - and 10% of units would have to be rented to people making no more than 30% of that level.

For condos, that would mean selling two-thirds of the units at prices people making between 60% and 100% of the area median income could afford.

Retail space should be offered to local merchants first, possibly as condos, with a "rent to own" policy to help budding entrepreneurs get a start. And:

Proposals with uses which will generate employment, such as commercial, manufacturing, or lab/life science, and green jobs must promote job training, local business and job creation, with special emphasis on providing maximum opportunities for local, small and disadvantaged businesses and job creation and training for people of color and women. This emphasis should take place in all aspects of redevelopment – the planning phase, the construction phase, business development phase, in the procurement of goods and services, the operation and maintenance phase, as well as in permanent jobs created. For lab/life science uses specifically, robust job training programs that create a clear, achievable employment pipeline for Roxbury residents. Such programs may include partnerships with Madison Park Vocational Technical School, the John D. O'Bryant School of Math & Science, Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology, and Wentworth Institute of Technology.

Because the parcel was once a marsh that could be increasingly prone to flooding, in a neighborhood with relatively fewer trees than other Boston neighborhoods, the proposal also calls for a variety of components to help residents survive climate change, including heavy tree planting, the creation of a park of at least half an acre. Also:

Proposed projects should provide for a cool/warm community room and essential systems to allow for extended sheltering in place and accommodation of local residents during an extreme weather event or an extended disruption of utility services.

Neighborhoods: 
Topics: 
Free tagging: 

Ad:
Like the job UHub is doing? Consider a contribution. Thanks!

Comments

Not enough Death Sciences labs

up
Voting closed 25

Often they support wildlife and native plants. Urban wilds. Not vacant at all.

up
Voting closed 18

One of the last things the decertified developer actually did was to chop down all the trees and mega-weed-whack the land.

up
Voting closed 35

It is a lot that was set aside for development. And I'm going to assume it was all previously developed land, based on the history presented to us. So it is a vacant lot, rather than undeveloped land.

On the other than, where I live, it is one of those subdivided neighborhoods, and there's a few lots directly in front of my house that were unbuildable and are now deeded as conservation land. I wouldn't call those vacant lots, there never has and never will be anything built on them.

up
Voting closed 18

Yes, and they contain a lot of nitrogen molecules as well.

The original meaning of "vacant" is not "empty", but "unoccupied". The earliest uses refer to offices, particularly clerical offices and benefices; the Bishop's seat was vacant. Eventually it was extended to other things, such as properties, and minds. Figurative uses multiplied, and among them was mere emptiness, which is now among its established meanings. "Empty" and "unoccupied" seem similar, but are subtly different; we call the space between the stars empty, but it would be silly to call it unoccupied, unless one were trying to make a particular point.

"Vacant" also used to be applied to a person without occupation, though this usage has, regrettably, disappeared, except for one brief revival by the Sex Pistols.

up
Voting closed 15

I remember when they were going to put a BJs there. Wonder what fell through.

up
Voting closed 16

They were never quite able to get enough money to get started.

up
Voting closed 12

Build 300 units at around $600,000 a pop given the current construction costs and give away at least 200 of them for not a penny more than $200,000? I have a feeling that lot will set empty for a very, very long time…

up
Voting closed 31

Where are you getting these build out costs?

up
Voting closed 13

Bookstores? In 2021? BPDA is determined to keep this parcel vacant.

up
Voting closed 12

I was a business partner at a startup consultancy to a boulé gentleman closely affiliated with the former project stewards, P3 Partners. He, like the rest of them, spoke grandiosely about their capability and experience in business matters. However, truthfully, he was a clueless imbecile in shoes too big to fill when it came to action steps and methodology. In 13 years, they produced nothing. ZILCH!

Squandered a huge deal and used the Black community to extend their idiocy by a whole decade.

up
Voting closed 23

An absolute boondoggle. They were handed a project on a silver platter and stubbed their toes for a decade plus. Even after the plan was announced to rehab and replace the projects next door, they couldn’t stop stepping on their johnsons.

up
Voting closed 12

to build the 95 extension? ;-)

up
Voting closed 14

Right now that's area is just chock full of SUVs and trucks parked on the median. I guess they'll just take commuter rail. Ha.

up
Voting closed 16

When those "spots" are all taken, the cops and others driving municipal SUVs like to park in the protected bike lanes on Columbus right by Ruggles. At one point there was some event presumably at HQ and the Tremont/Whittier illegal parking was all full, so they had pulled into the bike lanes on Columbus two to three municipal SUVs deep -- definitely not any sort of urgent situation, like, clearly this involved coordination to arrive and leave together since they were blocking one another in.

When a person cycling with me reported it on 311 with photos of license plates and everything, suggesting that municipal employees not make bike travel dangerous for families, they helpfully informed them that the vehicles were no longer there several days later.

up
Voting closed 16

…. recently that was parked in the crosswalk and blocking the curbcut on my street. While the cops were off having coffee and donuts, a person in a wheelchair had to go down to the other end of the street to cross. A Silverline had trouble making a turn. Lots of pedestrians had to go around the SUV.
311 noted the case and requested I go back and resubmit if the vehicle was still there.

up
Voting closed 16

For anything that can't wait for at least a day, then you're wasting your time. It's not intended to be a resource for quick turnaround. If you need something faster -- like your heat is off and your landlord isn't responding -- then you need to call and talk to a human who can escalate the case directly to the appropriate department.

Reporting a car that's parked in a crosswalk -- in the app -- isn't going to get you an official resolution apart from "Case closed. Car not there anymore." Parking enforcement isn't going around with the app used by city employees, constantly refreshing to see if there's a complaint. They wouldn't even rush to come issue a ticket in response to a notification because there's no shortage of violations to issue on their regular route.

up
Voting closed 6

You guys are insufferable. Police need to use cars and SUVs. Officers are ordered to report to HQ for various reasons during their shifts. The city in its genius did not build enough parking spaces back in 1997 to accommodate the need. You act as if on duty police officers are going to take the T to get around. It’s laughable, man.

up
Voting closed 14

If they need to get to the HQ non-urgently, then taking the T seems like a totally reasonable option as an easy way to get around the city. Alternately, most police cars and SUVs have multiple seats that could be used to transport more than 1 or 2 police officers if they truly have to drive. And finally, if there aren't enough parking spaces and more are truly needed, then the PD should petition the city to have the road redone to add them, rather than illegally blocking traffic lanes for their own use.

up
Voting closed 18

When you consider that an on-duty cop is probably making north of $50/hour. Paying them to ride the T is a waste of taxpayer money -- the T is rarely a quick way to get between two points in the city.

I will agree completely that the City ought to build more parking for Police HQ if officers are parking illegally in the area. There's a surface lot on the site which really ought to be a parking structure.

up
Voting closed 8