By John Lynds
In October 2016, the Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) named the East Boston Community Development Corporation (CDC) as the tentative designated developer of the Hess Site on Condor Street.
The CDC beat out two other proposals, a renewable recycling facility, and a climate controlled greenhouse that would have provided the Boston area with sustainable, year round, local food production.
The CDC has asked for and has been granted an extension three times from the BPDA on its ‘tentative’ designated developer status in the past.
With the last extension set to expire at the end of the month, the BPDA board voted unanimously at its January meeting last Thursday to once again grant an extension to the CDC. The latest extension will expire on March 31, 2018.
The CDC’s proposal gained the most support of neighbors and residents as it had the least amount of negative impacts, and included several plans for community use like a Harborwalk.
According to CDC head, Al Caldarelli, the CDC will be the long term lessee of the property and would use the space to consolidate three existing Eastie businesses looking to expand.
Caldarelli said his proposal would limit traffic, cause no odor and create jobs in the community. The CDC plans to build three buildings as well as a tot lot park, Harborwalk and dog park as community benefits. The three buildings would house three longstanding Eastie businesses. These businesses include John Zirpolo’s Cora Group, an expansion of Dan Noonan’s already successful shipyard and marina on Marginal Street and Peter Merullo’s Semper Diving and Marine.
At last week’s BPDA meeting the project manager for the proposal said since gaining tentative status the BPDA cited several accomplishments the CDC has made in working towards redeveloping the Hess Site.
According to the BPDA the project team has been assembled, including architects, licensed site professionals, geotechnical, marine and civil engineers. Existing information on the project site history has been obtained from BPDA files.
Meetings with the three potential tenants and the architects have been held to better define the tenant needs and to develop an integrated site plan that works to accommodate various needs.
Site entry permits have been obtained to allow for on-site inspections and taking soil samples. Soil samples have been obtained and are being analyzed to determine geotechnical properties.
An inspection of the existing condition of the bulkheads and seawalls has been conducted, and CDC is awaiting the final report. The project architect has continued to advance the site design and building layout based on meetings with the prospective tenants.
An updated site plan has been prepared. Survey and civil engineering support teams have been engaged and are updating the existing conditions site survey and grading and utility issues. The geotechnical report has been completed outlining issues, options and costs for foundation design and construction. A final report on the condition of the existing seawall has been completed.
The project architect has continued to advance the site design and building layout based on meetings with prospective tenants. An updated site plan has been prepared. Survey and civil engineering support has been engaged and are updating the existing conditions site survey and grading and utility issues.
The CDC requested the latest extension so the development team can continue their pre-development due diligence. This will include asking the BPDA to order and review a market appraisal of the parcel; continue dialogue with prospective tenants for the proposed development; and negotiate the terms and conditions of a long term ground lease with the BPDA.