BPDA Makes Seeks Ideas for Navy Yard Properties

By Seth Daniel

The Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) released a Request for Letters of Interest (RFI) this week that essentially calls for partners to help activate key parcels of land in the Navy Yard – including the long sought after Pier 5 parcel.

The RFI had been discussed with residents of the Navy Yard and the Friends of the Charlestown Navy Yard for many months, and finally the document was released on Monday, March 27. The idea behind the call is to find partners who want to bring some life to parcels that aren’t fully utilized, including the waterfront and water’s edges of the Charlestown Navy Yard, specifically Dry Dock #2, the foot of Dry Dock #2, Dry Dock #2 Pump House, Pier 5, Shipways, Dry Dock #5, the water’s edge, and adjacent watersheets.

Planner Erikk Hokenson said the call comes from the 2007 waterfront activation plan.

“Some of the challenges of the Navy Yard are visibility of public access and that there is more to it than the National Park areas,” he said. “There are a lot of other interesting things like the history of the area, the architectural features and the historic buildings.”

He said the idea is to program and activate the area year round with things like, potentially, public art (on land and on the water), historical interpretations, Farmer’s Markets, boating activities and other creative ideas.

Additionally, the RFI contemplates Pier 5 as an opportunity for open space – something long called for by residents of the Navy Yard.

“We also have identified Pier 5 as an opportunity for public engagement,” said Hokenson. “Right now it’s inaccessible. We’re in the process of getting bids for a structural assessment… It’s part of creating urban open spaces, just to create a greater destination…We’re looking for some ideas.”

He said they would first need to get the assessment to find out if Pier 5 is structurally sound and safe. He said the BPDA would be interested in making the pier safe.

“We are willing to make some investment to the structural improvements to some certain limits,” he said.

Many have hoped over the years that a unique and innovative open space could sprout up on the pier, which is surrounded by water. Some have called for a South Boston-esque ‘Lawn on D’ type of park over the water. Others simply would like a nice open space to relax.

This RFI is available for download from the BPDA’s website.

Questions pertaining to this RFI should be directed to Erikk Hokenson, Waterfront Planner, by phone at 617.918.4267 or email at [email protected].

Responses to the RFI are due by May 12.

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