BPDA Releases Two Major RFPs for Navy Yard Properties

The Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) has released two major Requests for Proposal (RFP) this week on Building 108 (Power Plant) and the challenging Pier 5.

The Pier 5 RFP is likely the most compelling of the two, sitting just in front of Flagship Wharf and basically condemned a few years ago. The BPDA met with the community to discuss the potential of the site, and the Navy Yard neighbors overwhelmingly agreed with “fishing” out some proposals via an RFP. That would have come out much sooner, but COVID-19 put the brakes on the issuance until now.

Pier 5 is about 167,000 sq. ft. of property with an 83,000 sq. ft. pier that would likely have to be demolished. There is also a portion of the HarborWalk, and 75,000 sq. ft. of watersheet included as well.

The RFP says potential uses could be marina, open space, residential, commercial, or hotel.

The pier was originally constructed by the US Navy in 1943. The pier has deteriorated and is not currently in usable condition. Proposals must be consistent with applicable regulations including Chapter 91, City of Boston waterfront planning efforts, and applicable zoning.

Meanwhile, at Building 108 (Power Plant) the RFP has also finally gone out for a long-term lease of the building, which is in the process of being demolished now by a contractor paid for by the BPDA.

The RFP states the 40,000 sq. ft. property could have potential uses that include residential, research and development, commercial, or retail.

Originally built between 1902 and 1904, Building 108 supplied nearly all of the electric power needed at the Charlestown Navy Yard. The existing structure is in the process of being demolished due to due to its deteriorating condition and the environmental contaminants present in the building. After demolition, the Premises may carry an Activity and Use Limitation restricting certain uses as a result of contaminants that are not able to be fully remediated.

There are many restrictions with the use of the building as well, and development has to be coordinated with the National Park Service, which occupies Building 107. The design is subject to the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties, the Charlestown Navy Yard Design Guidelines for Reuse for the Historic Monument Area, and the Charlestown Navy Yard Program for Preservation and Use. Per these guidelines, new construction must be contained within the volume of the original massing.


The BPDA Board will meet today, Sept. 10, and will consider two items in the Navy Yard, including outdoor seating for the new restaurant in the old Navy Yard Bistro site and a consideration of another one-year extension for Courageous Sailing.

The Black Owl LLC – the same owners of Brewer’s Fork on Hays Square – have asked permission from the BPDA to enter into an agreement to use 2,850 sq. ft. of space in the Navy Yard for seasonal, outdoor seating through March 31, 2021.

Meanwhile, the Board will consider another one-year extension for Courageous Sailing to use Pier 4 for sailing programs that serve more than 1,500 youth per year. The program has been located there for 22 years, but in 2017, the BPDA and National Park Service began a process of contemplating the future of Pier 4 and determine the best path forward in terms of use and infrastructure improvements. Courageous is working cooperatively with those partners on that process.

In the meantime, the BPDA has been renewing their operating license on a yearly basis. The current license runs through Sept. 30 and would be extended until Dec. 31, 2021 at no cost.

Both of the agenda items are expected to be approved by the Board.

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