BPDA approves RFPs to redevelop public land for public good in Charlestown, Chinatown, and Dorchester
Apr 13, 2023
New affordable housing in Dorchester moves forward
The Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA) Board of Directors this month approved four new development projects representing 165,000 square feet (SF). The new projects will create 47 residential units, 29 of which, or 62 percent will be designated income-restricted, and will support approximately 163 construction jobs and 115 permanent jobs. These projects will make Boston a more resilient, affordable, and equitable city.
BPDA Board awards tentative designation for the redevelopment of 555-559 Columbia Road
The BPDA Board of Directors awarded tentative designation to Civico/DREAM Collaborative to redevelop the BPDA-owned site at 555-559 Columbia Road in Upham's Corner in Dorchester. The Civico/DREAM proposal would create a blend of affordable homeownership options, artist space, and a branch library that improves the public realm within a new five-story building. The goals outlined in the RFP were built on earlier community-oriented planning processes focused on the Fairmount Line, and reflect the ideas and priorities expressed by the community members participating in a robust public outreach process, guided by the community-based Working Advisory Group (WAG). The RFP prioritized the inclusion of a branch library, affordable housing, affordable commercial space, transit oriented development, sustainability, and development without displacement. Following the RFP submissions, staff conducted an extensive community engagement process, in collaboration with the WAG, to evaluate the proposals and ultimately make a recommendation for tentative designation. The site is at the heart of the Upham’s Corner Arts and Innovation District. The goal of this district is to create sustainable opportunities for local residents and businesses by empowering the entrepreneurial talent that exists in the neighborhood. The Upham’s Corner Implementation process focuses on putting those plans into effect by strategically developing parcels in the neighborhood.
BPDA approves RFP to redevelop Austin Street Lots
The BPDA Board of Directors approved a Request for Proposals (RFP) to redevelop the BPDA-owned Austin Street Parking Lots in Charlestown. This site was identified as a high-priority opportunity site for community planning in the City’s 2022 land audit. Some of the key goals for the Lots outlined in the RFP and PLAN: Charlestown’s emerging recommendations include: affordable housing, open space with sports fields, pedestrian and bike connections, public realm contributions, retail spaces and ground floor activation, and artist spaces. These goals were developed as part of a robust community process that included several community visioning sessions, building off of the engagement for PLAN: Charlestown. Proposals should prioritize neighborhood services, retail, restaurants, athletic uses, and community spaces within the ground floor activation. Based on community surveys and discussions, proposals must also provide affordability across multiple income levels. The successful proposer will be required to apply to the Boston Housing Authority through a separate RFP for Project-Based Voucher Section 8 Assistance for 100 units for this project. Like all BPDA-owned parcels in the City of Boston, the selected development team will be required to meet the BPDA’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion evaluation criterion, and outline commitments to including Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise (M/WBEs) in all aspects of their development process. The RFP will be issued in the coming weeks.
BPDA approves RFP to redevelop Parcel P12C
The BPDA Board of Directors approved a Request for Proposals (RFP) to redevelop BPDA-owned Parcel P-12C located in Chinatown. This site was previously tentatively designated, but after that development did not move forward due to financial constraints brought on by the pandemic, the BPDA restarted a community process in 2022 to imagine what could be developed on the site. This site was also identified as a high-priority opportunity site for community planning in the City’s 2022 land audit. Based on feedback from the community, the RFP will prioritize the inclusion of affordable housing and the activation of the ground floor to create a vibrant streetscape in the redevelopment of the site. The design of this building should contribute to the architectural identity of the surrounding neighborhoods. Proposals should also support the community and City of Boston’s Carbon Free, Climate Resilient, and Healthy Community goals including the 2019 Carbon Free Boston report and Zero Emission Buildings guidebook for affordable housing projects. Like all BPDA-owned parcels in the City of Boston, the selected development team will be required to meet the BPDA’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion evaluation criterion, and outline commitments to including Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise (M/WBEs) in all aspects of their development process. The RFP will be issued in the coming weeks.
BPDA approves RFP to redevelop Fernboro Parcels in Dorchester
The BPDA Board of Directors approved a Request for Proposals (RFP) to redevelop five parcels located at 21-29 Fernboro Street known collectively as the Fernboro Parcels in Dorchester. The property consists of three BPDA-owned parcels and two parcels owned by the Mayor’s Office of Housing (MOH). The joint disposition of these properties was made possible by the BPDA buying a private parcel in between the BPDA and MOH parcels. The BPDA and MOH teams believe that the land could provide a great opportunity for affordable housing development due to adjacent residential development and its close proximity to the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. K-8 School and the Lilla G. Frederick Pilot Middle School. Based on feedback from the community and in line with staff’s goals, this project should provide affordable homeownership to the community. In addition, residents advocated for maintaining the tree canopy currently present on site to combat urban heat island, development without displacement, and the inclusion of parking spaces on site. Like all BPDA-owned parcels in the City of Boston, the selected development team will be required to meet the BPDA’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion evaluation criterion, and outline commitments to including Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise (M/WBEs) in all aspects of their development process. The RFP will be issued in the coming weeks.
Planning and Zoning
BPDA Board approves contract for design and engineering services for the Resilient Fort Point Infrastructure Project
The BPDA Board of Directors approved a contract with AECOM Technical Services Inc., for design and engineering services for the Resilient Fort Point Infrastructure Project. The goal of the Project is to implement flood protection infrastructure in a vulnerable part of Boston’s Fort Point Channel, to reduce flood risks to South Boston and the adjacent neighborhoods. Under existing coastal flood conditions, and by 2030 with a projected nine inches of sea level rise, flooding will worsen and potentially affect larger residential areas and significant public infrastructure.To prevent this, the Project will construct mixed berm and floodwall mitigation along the eastern shoreline of the channel. It is being developed in coordination with Gillette and other nearby property owners. The actual construction of the Project will be subject to future BPDA Board approval for the selection of a construction contractor. This Project builds off of the work done in the Climate Ready Boston report and the Coastal Resilient Solutions for South Boston report.
BPDA Board approves zoning amendments in the Fenway neighborhood
The BPDA Board of Directors approved zoning amendments in the Fenway neighborhood that will address criteria for Planned Development Areas. The changes are designed to balance predictability of built form and intended uses with the flexibility needed to deliver significant public benefits. The changes prioritize increasing allowed height for proposed PDAs along Brookline Avenue, an established corridor connecting Kenmore Square and the Longwood Medical and Academic area. These amendments will need to be approved by the zoning commission to take effect.
Project at 247 Hancock Street brings mixed-income multi-family housing to Dorchester
Live: 47 residential units, majority family-sized units, amenity space for tenants
Work: Approximately 52 construction jobs
Connect: Bicycle parking spaces, new pedestrian crosswalk, new publicly accessible courtyard, Bluebikes dock, close proximity to public transport
Sustain: Solar panels on roof, EV car share, 100 percent efficient electric
This project will build a new six story building comprised of 47 mixed-income multi-family residential units. Of those units, 29 will be income-restricted. The building will be all-electric and will create housing opportunities for larger families with approximately seven three-bedroom units, 27 two-bedroom units, five one-bedroom units and eight studios. During review of this project, Planning Division staff considered the neighborhood context, particularly the close location to other recently constructed projects, as well as public feedback, adopted citywide plans including Imagine Boston 2030 and Go Boston 2030, and the zoning code. This project will create new public open space, as well as an improved pedestrian experience on Hancock Street.
Boston College High School will add to sports complex with 150-160 Morrissey Boulevard project
Work: Approximately 42 construction jobs, approximately 56 permanent jobs
Connect: Close proximity to MBTA, bicycle parking
Sustain: LEED Certified
Located at Boston College High School, this project will put an addition onto what is currently a sports complex to add a new swimming pool with grandstand area, locker rooms, new cardio, weightlifting, and wrestling areas, and renovated entry areas. New landscaping will also reduce the parking onsite. In support of the bikeshare system, this project will contribute $17,640 to the Boston Transportation Department.
330 C Street project to build six-story hotel to South Boston
Live: 72 room hotel
Work: Approximately 45 construction jobs, approximately 27 permanent jobs, ground floor retail and restaurant space
Connect: $7,500 contribution to West 2nd Street Park & Community Gardens, $7,500 contribution to Flaherty Park, close proximity to public transportation, $49,000 contribution to Bluebikes program, $40,000 contribution to roadway improvements on C Street
Sustain: LEED Gold Certified
This project at 330 C Street in South Boston will construct a six-story hotel that includes up to 72 guest rooms and retail/restaurant space on the ground floor. In support of Boston’s green building and carbon neutral goals, the project will be designed to meet LEED Gold performance standards. The project takes its surroundings into consideration and has a brick facade to complement nearby buildings. It will also include at least two street trees, new pedestrian lighting, and landscaping which will brighten an otherwise gray area and create a more welcoming pedestrian experience. This project will make a contribution to the bikeshare program of $49,000 to the Boston Transportation Department, and provide space for one 15-bike docking station. It will also contribute $10,000 to the City’s Fund for Parks to maintain the green space at the West 2nd Street Park and Community Gardens in South Boston. Another $10,000 contribution to the City’s Fund for Parks will go toward maintaining the green space at Flaherty Park.
Project at 85 West Newton Street will convert vacant lot into multipurpose space for events, classrooms
Work: Approximately 24 construction jobs, approximately 31 permanent jobs
Connect: Bike parking, close proximity to public transport, 4,500+ participants in arts and culture activities, 1,200+ residents served by IBA programs
Sustain: Will be LEED Certified
Located in the South End, this project will convert what is now a vacant lot into a new four-story building for the Inquilinos Boricuas en Accion (IBA) organization containing a multipurpose space for events, functions and performances, a public lobby, classrooms, and meeting rooms. Amenities will include bike storage, an exercise room and showers, kitchen and dining areas, storage, and a roof deck. IBA is a non-profit organization and community development corporation that originally started in the South End neighborhood of Boston to address displacement of low-income families due to urban development. IBA is working with the Boston Parks and Recreation Department to participate in the planning for the renewal of the adjacent O’Day Park and to coordinate the design of the new building within the park to permit enhanced activities that involve both spaces. IBA intends for this project to serve its 1,000+ person community and thousands of people from all backgrounds with an improved facility. The project is consistent with the City’s goal of bolstering the arts community through culturally-driven space and improving the public realm and open spaces.
In addition to these projects, the Board approved:
An update to a previously approved project at 734 Dudley Street to add an additional story with five housing units.
An update to a previously approved project at 425 Border Street to change the units from condominiums to rental units.
An update to a previously approved project at 265-267 Amory Street to reduce the height of the building and the number of units.
An update to a previously approved project at 4198-4206 Washington Street to increase the number of income-restricted units.
The disbursement of $100,000.00 to the University of Massachusetts Boston’s Department of Urban Planning in support of the 2023 Summer Program Expanding Boston’s Pipeline for Youth of Color in Urban Planning.