The Little Mystic Channel parcels are slated to get another two-month extension to their existing lease at Thursday Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) Board meeting, but planners indicated they expect to sign another long-term lease with the Authority in December.
That lease would likely allow the AutoPort to continue using the parcels, which abut the channel and had been eyed by the community for potential open space at one time last year.
“In order to allow Massport to continue the operations of the AutoPort for the interim period between now and the execution of the newly negotiated lease, staff is seeking an additional two months extension to the existing lease under the same terms as are presently in effect,” read the Board memo. “At this time, it is expected that a vote to approve a new, long-term lease will occur at the December board (meeting). It is not anticipated that BPDA staff will seek any further extensions of the existing lease.”
MassPort had a 40-year lease that only charged them $1 to rent the parcels, and they subleased them to the AutoPort and collected rent from that company for using the parcels. That arrangement was uncovered by the Patriot-Bridge in 2018 when a request to procure the original lease was granted.
The existing lease was to expire in July, but a community process and negotiations of a new lease have delayed it for the last several months. The current extension runs out on Oct. 31, but an extension would go until Dec 31.
A contentious meeting in March about the parcels along the Channel pretty much squashed any ideas that the community might be able to get new open space or alternative uses at the site. The site is included in the Designated Port Area, and MassPort had a strong desire to retain those parcels with their larger holdings with AutoPort across Terminal Street.
At this point, there has been a small push to get more mitigation and a higher rent payment in the new lease. Those new terms and any new mitigation during the negotiations have not been disclosed publicly yet. That would come in December when the new lease is submitted to the BPDA Board for consideration.
The BPDA memo indicated it had received several ideas from the community for mitigation during public meetings and during the written comment period.
“As a result of this feedback, staff engaged in dialogues with area elected officials, non-profits and neighbors in order to refine mitigation ideas, ensuring that the measures BPDA is requiring in the new, long term lease for the Little Mystic Parcel are as impactful as possible,” read the memo.