After more than six years of discussion in the neighborhood, the Bunker Hill Redevelopment project has finally made the agenda of the Boston Planning and Redevelopment Agency’s (BPDA) Board and at least nine votes will be taken on Thursday to approve the $1.46 billion Master Project site and allow the first phase of the project to go forward.
The Redevelopment consists of demolishing 42 buildings on the site and 1,110 public housing units over a period of eight to 10 years, and replacing it with a brand new mixed-income development created by Leggat McCall, Corcoran Companies and the Boston Housing Authority (BHA). They plan to replace 1,010 of the public housing units on site and add 1,689 market rate units to the mix in 15 new buildings – also including amenities like ground floor retail and a new community center.
In all of its long life on the planning stages, it has never appeared before the BPDA Board.
The Recommendations to the Board are to approve the matters before them.
The developers have said with the approvals, they believe they can start Phase 1 in the summer. That would include the demolition of six existing BHA buildings, and replacing it with two new buildings, Building F and M. Building F would sit behind the Kennedy Center and Building M would be on the corner of Medford Street and Tufts. Together, they would have 358 mixed-income units – with 158 of them being BHA replacement units.
The community has been split on advancing the project to the Board, with a final IAG meeting held on Tuesday night at the same time as Mayor Walsh’s State of the City speech.
Many in the community, and who live in the development, have said its time to move forward and work out the details in the extended reviews of the other phases. Meanwhile, strong voices in the community have also said the proposal has too many unanswered questions and needs much more review.
One piece before the BPDA Board on Thursday is the approval of an Urban Renewal Zoning tool called a ‘U-Subdistrict.’ That tool will allow far more flexibility in zoning and, potentially, more community input in establishing the zoning for the subdistrict – which is defined as the site of the development. That U-Subdistrict tool also allows the zoning for the project to change over time as the phases continue, and also supersedes City zoning ordinances.
• The Anchor up for Renewal
The Anthem Group, which operates The Anchor venue in the Navy Yard, will be up for an activation license renewal at the BPDA Board on Thursday. The Anchor has had great successes throughout the pandemic running outdoor activities and notable displays for Halloween and the Winter holidays/Christmas.
The BPDA is recommending the Board approve the license to start on March 1 and with the same terms as the previous agreement. The license would run through Jan. 1, 2022.
“The combination of responsible, physically-distanced, yet engaging and interesting programs led to nearly every event reaching its allowed capacity based on COVID-19 health guidelines,” read the memo. “As a result, The Anchor continued to add fitness programs, self-instructed arts/crafts and similar programs that both helped meet the public demand but also continued to have a positive economic impact on some of the most vulnerable types of businesses and entertainers.”
The terms of the license include a base monthly fee of $2,000 and 15 percent of the previous month’s receipts.
• Construction COVID Testing
The BPDA Board will also review on Thursday a proposal to use the Bunker Hill Community College parking lot #1 to set up a COVID-19 testing site for construction workers.
The centralized facility would serve as the location for workers at sites around the City to come and be tested for the virus. The testing is made available in partnership with Partners in Health, Harbor Health Services and the Greater Boston Building Trades, and was announced on Dec. 22. It is sponsored by John Moriarty and Sons.
• Jenny’s Pizza
The Jenny’s Pizza parking lot license on Medford Street with the BPDA has apparently lapsed, and the Board will look to enter into a new agreement with the popular pizza shop to renew the license. The 800 sq. ft. lot is owned by the BPDA and has room for two cars to park. The license fee will be $231 a month until 2023