News & Updates

BPDA releases RFP to develop Parcel P3 into site that creates jobs, wealth-building opportunities for Roxbury community

Oct 27, 2021

Following an extensive community process, the Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA) has released a Request for Proposals (RFP) to develop Parcel P3 in Roxbury’s Nubian Square. The RFP calls for economic development and affordable housing opportunities that support the neighboring community and Roxbury residents, and includes the BPDA’s diversity, equity, and inclusion requirements to ensure that any project advances economic opportunities for people of color. 

"We have an incredible opportunity to move forward a development at P3 that will serve Nubian Square and all of Roxbury," said Mayor Kim Janey. "The new RFP for P3 maximizes housing affordability and will ensure that new jobs and economic development opportunities will directly benefit the neighboring residents of this long neglected parcel." 

"Thanks to the work of the Roxbury community, the BPDA, and the City of Boston, Parcel P3 will be returned to productive use within the community,” said Norman Stembridge, Co-Chair, The Roxbury Strategic Master Plan Oversight Committee. “Through the Roxbury Strategic Master Plan, PLAN: Dudley and PLAN: Nubian Square, the community has spoken consistently. Good jobs, affordable housing, affordable homeownership and positive economic development have always been goals. Reclaiming land, illogically abandoned decades ago has always been a priority. The community, the Roxbury Strategic Master Plan Oversight Committee and the BPDA are committed to seeing this through.” 

P3 is a 7.7 acre vacant parcel of land owned by the BPDA located along Tremont Street in Roxbury. Due to its size, proximity to public transit, major roads, and educational facilities, both the Roxbury Strategic Master Plan and PLAN: Nubian Square have highlighted the potential of the site to contribute to the economic development of Nubian Square. In 2019, the previous developer designation for the parcel expired and the BPDA did not extend it in order to seek a new viable project that better represents the community's vision for the site.

The BPDA held five public meetings with community members to discuss the RFP between February 2021 and August 2021. Feedback from the community focused on the importance of the site to generate jobs and opportunities for wealth creation for neighborhood residents. Based on this feedback, the RFP calls for:

  • Economic Development: Proposals should include a mix of uses that will generate wealth and generate new employment prospects in education, health, medicine, bio and life sciences, and/or finance. For lab/life science uses, proposals must include robust job training programs that create a clear, achievable employment pipeline for Roxbury residents. 
  • Affordable Housing: A minimum of two-thirds of residential units must be affordable to low and moderate income households. 
  • Sustainability and Resiliency: Proposals should support and exemplify the community’s and the City’s goals for sustainable, resilient, and healthy new construction including the City’s Carbon Neutral Boston 2050 commitment.
  • Open Space: Proposals should include 20,000 square feet of consolidated open space on the corner of Tremont Street and Whittier Street that will serve as a connection to the Southwest Corridor Park, and connect future development with the Whittier Choice housing development. 
  • Consistency with Planning History: Proposed designs should incorporate the combined visions of PLAN: Nubian Square, the 2004 Roxbury Strategic Master Plan and Dudley Vision. The development should serve as a catalyst to promote the arts, culture, education, commercial, and retail enterprise in the area in recognition of the area’s rich cultural history.

Like all publicly-owned parcels in the City of Boston, the RFP for P3 will include a Diversity and Inclusion evaluation criterion, requiring proponents to include a Diversity and Inclusion Plan to outline their commitments to including minority/women-owned business enterprises (M/WBEs) in all aspects of their development which will be weighted at 25 percent of the total evaluation of the parcel. Respondents will also be required to submit a Good Jobs Strategy Plan, outlining how the proposal supports the community’s expressed priorities to create and sustain good, permanent jobs in all phases of the development. Respondents must also demonstrate how their proposals will develop without displacement and allow the current residents of Nubian Square to remain in their communities. 

The BPDA has already engaged in extensive outreach to the development community to support M/WBE participation to the greatest extent possible, including hosting several information sessions and partnering with the Builders of Color Coalition. The RFP also strongly encourages joint venture partnerships which include a lead developer and co-developers of the site as a strategy that can help build capacity in smaller developers.

The Roxbury Strategic Master Plan Oversight Committee (RSMPOC) voted to advance the RFP on September 13, 2021.

The BPDA’s PLAN: Nubian Square (formerly PLAN: Dudley Square) was launched in February 2016 to build on and update the framework for development in the Roxbury Strategic Master Plan, and guide the RFPs for these ten properties. The planning initiative, which continues to be ongoing, includes an extensive community engagement process consisting of over 50 public workshops, walking tours, community gatherings, and meetings in order to share information, establish a vision for the future, and implement that vision through drafting RFPs. The engagement process was designed to encourage meaningful community conversations and critical feedback. 

Since July 2018, seven PLAN: Nubian parcels have been designated for development projects that will positively support the Roxbury community: 75-81 Dudley St., 2147 Washington St., 135 Dudley St., 40-50 Warren St., the Blair Lot, Parcel 8, and the Nawn Factory, and a tentative designation for the Crescent Parcel is expected to move forward in the coming months.  All of these developments reflect the City of Boston and the BPDA’s commitment to using public land for public good by advancing the community’s vision for significant investments in affordable housing, good jobs, wealth-building opportunities, open space, and equity and inclusion.  

Responses to the RFP are due February 2, 2022. The RFP offers the property for a 70 year ground lease, with an asking price of $7.50 per gross square foot of newly built development per year, based on an independent appraisal. Proponents may offer less than the asking price if they credibly demonstrate that the development concept maximizes the public benefit and forgoes more lucrative opportunities in order to be consistent with community preferences.
 

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