The Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) has put out a request for proposals (RFP) for development of the Navy Yard Power Plant, otherwise known as Building 108, as momentum continues in the development of long-vacant properties in the Yard.
The Power Plant is in the process of being remediated and demolished by the BPDA at a cost of about $5 million – and obstacle they believe will now eliminate barriers to developing the long-vacant property.
“It’s an eyesore in the Navy Yard and we’re excited to move forward with the redevelopment of Building 108,” said Devin Quirk, a Charlestown resident and BPDA manager.
Quirk and Morgan McDaniel said the RFP is really looking for creativity from the development community about what could be built there and what is possible.
“It’s pretty much open on uses,” said McDaniel. “We’re interested in exploring residential, but are open to commercial. The big factor is historic preservation…That’s going to be a really important party of the RFP…We’ll see what the development community comes up with.”
Quirk said they have been working closely with the National Park Service on the RFP, and said there are historical restrictions. That, he said, will be a real difficult part of any development.
“They challenge is going to be in working within the historic character of the place,” he said.
Residents can expect a building roughly the same size and shape of what’s there now. And the key part of that is that the City is taking on the remediation of what is believed to be a very contaminated site – with some professionals believing it could be one of the most contaminated sites in the city. With that gone, Quirk said the site becomes more attractive.
“We’ve spent all the money now to remediate and demolish the old building,” he said. “We’re really clearing the major hurdles that have stood in the way of development for so long. It will be clear for any developer once they are designated.”
The RFP responses will be opened on Jan. 22, and from there the BPDA will evaluate them in hopes of choosing a designated developer. Before that, however, Quirk said any qualified developer would be invited out to the community to present their ideas. Much like the activation plans for the Yard, input from the community would be heavily used in making any final determinations. Both said they hoped to have meetings on the RFP in late winter or early spring.
The bigger story for the BPDA is the movement on so many properties that have been dormant or underutilized for years. The RopeWalk building is nearing occupancy for a residential project, and the Chain Forge is in the midst of getting financing for a hotel. The BPDA has also held meetings on ideas for Pier 4, Pier 5 and the Pump House recently, and just completed a successful Shipyard Park Summer Activation effort.
“There is certainly momentum happening now in re-developing the many buildings in the Navy Yard that are not yet addressed,” Quirk said. “It’s been a high priority for the BPDA for the last year or so…All of the properties that have bene challenging over the years have had the resources dedicated to get them moving.”
One of the only properties in the Navy Yard that remains unaddressed is a property controlled by Mass General – a vacant lot behind the Spaulding Rehab Hospital.