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BPDA extends rent deferment program for qualified commercial tenants on BPDA-owned property through September

Jul 16, 2020

115 Winthrop Square Notice of Project Change approved at virtual July Board Meeting

The Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA) Board today authorized the agency to extend its rent deferment program for qualified commercial tenants at BPDA-owned properties through September. The agency launched this program in April as a way to support the small and large businesses on BPDA-owned properties that have been impacted by the COVID-19 public health emergency.

“As a major landowner in Boston, the BPDA is in a unique position to assist with the City’s ongoing COVID-19 relief efforts and support the many small, local businesses that fuel our economy,” said BPDA Director Brian Golden. “Extending our rent deferment program is one way we can assist our tenants in sustaining their businesses and preserving jobs during this unprecedented time.”

The BPDA Real Estate Department oversees thirteen million square feet of real estate assets spanning Boston’s neighborhoods. The BPDA manages its properties with the intent to guide inclusive economic growth for the City of Boston. The two largest holdings are the Charlestown Navy Yard and the Raymond L. Flynn Marine Park (RLFMP) in South Boston. The BPDA leases commercial and industrial space at 12 Channel Street in the RLFMP and the China Trade Building at 2 Boylston Street.

Additionally, the Board approved a Notice of Project Change for 115 Winthrop Square, which will reduce the project’s total square footage by eliminating the residential portion of the east tower. The project’s building size will now be approximately 1,447,000 gross square feet, with 321 rental units. The project will initially contribute over $26 million to the Inclusionary Development Policy (IDP) fund to support the creation of affordable housing, with the contribution increasing to $48 million or more should the development convert to homeownership units in the future. 115 Winthrop Square was originally approved by the BPDA in 2018, following the sale of the City-owned Winthrop Square garage. The over $150 million in revenue from this sale remains unchanged, and is allowing for unprecedented investments in affordable housing and open space, including funding for the Boston Common Master Plan and Franklin Park Master Plan, which are already underway.

The July Board Meeting was held virtually to ensure the safety of the public, staff members, and BPDA Board Members during the COVID-19 public health emergency. This month, the Board also voted to:

  • Enter into a license agreement with Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital for the temporary use of a BPDA-owned pier adjacent to Mayor Thomas M. Menino Park in Charlestown for the Spaulding Adaptive Sport Center’s Weingarten Program. This program provides patients with a bridge between rehabilitation and returning to an active lifestyle.
  • Increase funding for the ongoing Allston-Brighton Mobility Study to continue the public review process once the draft plan is released later this summer. Building on the goals of Imagine Boston 2030, the first city-wide master plan in 50 years, the BPDA launched the Allston-Brighton Mobility study in 2018 to explore and understand multimodal improvements in these neighborhoods.
  • Extend the consultant contract for PLAN: Downtown, an ongoing planning initiative that aims to develop a new framework for the preservation, enhancement, and growth of the Downtown area. This extension is in response to the BPDA’s suspension of in-person public meetings for planning initiatives and development projects due to the COVID-19 public health emergency.
  • Allocate $100,000 from Chapter 91 funds to support GrubStreet’s buildout of a narrative arts center at 50 Liberty Drive at Fan Pier in the South Boston Waterfront. Last year, Mayor Walsh and the BPDA joined GrubStreet to kick-off construction of this new space, which will serve as a literary destination with year-round programming for students of all ages and backgrounds.
  • Disburse $100,000 from the Fenway Community Benefits fund to 10 community organizations that support temporary or permanent beautification projects in the Fenway neighborhood.

In response to COVID-19 the BPDA has postponed all in-person public meetings for Article 80 development projects and planning initiatives. Last month, the BPDA launched a pilot program to resume these meetings virtually via Zoom after months of work by an interagency working group and with support from local community groups and elected officials. For more information on this pilot program, please click here.

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