The Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA) Board on April 16 authorized the agency to enter into rent deferment agreements to support the small and large businesses that occupy BPDA-owned properties and have been impacted by the COVID-19 public health emergency.
“BPDA’s tenants are many of the small, local businesses that fuel Boston’s economy and employ hundreds of Boston’s residents,” said BPDA Director Brian Golden. “It is critical that we support these tenants during this incredibly challenging period while also working to maintain the agency’s financial solvency that funds our planning and economic development functions.”
Following conversations with BPDA tenants beginning in mid-March, on April 3 the BPDA provided tenants with an application for needs-based rent deferral. The BPDA is currently reviewing applications for rent deferral. The BPDA will review deferral requests for payments due in April 2020 through June 2020, and will seek authorization for an extension if necessary.
The BPDA Real Estate Department oversees 13 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 St.
The BPDA April Board meeting was held virtually in response to guidance to protect members of the public, staff, and BPDA Board members in light of the COVID-19 public health emergency. The Board did not vote on any Article 80 development projects or hold any public hearings. In addition to the rent deferment vote, the Board voted to:
•Utilize the BPDA’s Urban Renewal powers to allow the renovation of City Hall Plaza, located within an Urban Renewal area on BPDA-owned land, to move forward. Led by the City of Boston’s Public Facilities Department, the renovation will create a Plaza that is welcoming and accessible for all residents and visitors. To learn more about the renovation of City Hall Plaza.
•Install a permanent marker on Long Wharf to commemorate the slaves who came through Boston during the Middle Passage stage of the Triangular Trade. The marker will be installed by the National Park Service (NPS), and is funded jointly between NPS and the Edward Ingersoll Browne fund. The marker has been publicly endorsed by community partners, including the Middle Passage Ceremonies and Port Markers Project, former State Representative Byron Rushing, the Museum of African American History and the Boston Art Commission.
In response to COVID-19, the BPDA has postponed all BPDA-hosted public meetings for Article 80 development projects and planning initiatives until further notice. While projects will continue to be reviewed internally by BPDAstaff, the public review process is on hold until public meetings can be resumed. Additionally, open comment periods will be extended until the public review process resumes.