By John Lynds
Four development teams have submitted bids to the City of Boston in regards to the city-owned lot on Condor Street across from the Hess site. The city put out Request for Proposals (RFP) following an Eagle Hill Civic Association meeting in February. At the meeting the city listened to residents’ input so the Department of Neighborhood Development (DND) could tailor the RFP to the community’s vision for the site.
East Boston’s Neighborhood of Affordable Housing (NOAH), the East Boston Community Development Corporation (CDC), Z Capital Investments and Pennrose Properties LLC all submitted proposals prior to the deadline.
“All the proposals just came in Monday so they haven’t been formally reviewed yet,” said DND’s Lisa Pollack. “With that said, what’s exciting is that each of them is very responsive to the community and all of them include both rental and ownership opportunities, a mix of income levels, dedicated artist housing, shared artists’ workspace, and gallery space. We (DND) will be reviewing the proposals in the upcoming weeks and they will be posted at www.property.boston.gov once they’ve been reviewed.”
Once the projects have been reviewed to ensure that they have met the RFP guidelines, the proponents and DND will come before the neighborhood to start the community process.
“All of the developers expressed an interest in working with the community and creating a development that’s responsive to the community’s input,” said Pollack. “To that end, after application review is completed, DND will hold a community meeting in the fall, at which time eligible developers will present their proposals to the community.”
While many at the EHCA meeting that was held in February were wary of putting more housing in the already densely populated Eagle Hill, DND Project Manager Kelly Shay said that housing was most likely going to be a major component of any development that goes at the site.
“We are trying to take the temperature of the community but keep in mind that DND builds affordable housing,” said Shay at the time. “We would like to see housing and there is a need for housing across the city.”
However, prior to the RFP being sent out residents cautioned Shay and the city on the over saturation of subsidized housing in Eastie and Eagle Hill, like Shore Plaza. However, many agreed that there is a need for affordable housing and workforce housing that targets working families in the middle to lower middle class range as well as those that are low income and struggling.
Attorney Diane Modica, who works closely with the East Boston Artist Group advocated for more affordable housing for artists in Eastie, which made it into the RFP. Modica pointed to statistics where the city has built 259 units of artists housing across the city but is yet to build artist housing here. There are 62 units in Hyde Park, 92 units in South Boston, 28 units in the South End and lower Roxbury but there are no artists units in Eastie to date.
“So it very important to us as a community to have affordable artist living space to compliment working artists spaces like the Atlantic Works building to make Eastie a cultural destination for other Bostonians and to ensure our artists are not priced out of the neighborhood,” said Modica at the last community meeting.