BPDA Takes Step Back in Deciding on Pier 5 Proposals

The process to evaluate and designate a developer among the three housing proposals put forth for the condemned Pier 5 site in the Navy Yard has taken a small step back, and there could be a slight delay in the timeline as the City looks into regulatory issues raised by the community – among other things.

In a letter to the community, Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) Project Manager Morgan McDaniel wrote that the Agency continues to evaluate the three proposals and the vast amounts of public input received since February.

“In addition to evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of the three proposals, we are looking into regulatory concerns that have been raised, and we are investigating the concerns some have raised about any development on the site,” she wrote. “We remain very committed to working closely with the Navy Yard and broader Charlestown community to determine the best course of action for this property. We expect it to take several additional weeks for the BPDA to conduct these detailed evaluations and research necessary to inform a recommendation on the next step for the process.”

McDaniel wrote there would be many opportunities for public input going forward and they are in the “early stages” of shaping the future of the Pier 5 site.

The BPDA was not immediately available to speak in depth on the potential delay, but said they would speak in the coming week more about the process.

In January, after the three developers responded to the RFP put out last fall, the BPDA had hoped to conclude the public process and designate a developer by the late spring.

There had been widespread support for the RFP going out, even for housing, on Pier 5 in meetings that were help in late 2019. COVID-19’s surge slowed that down a bit, but last summer the effort picked back up and the RFP did go out. However, once the proposals came in, there seemed to be a change of heart in the community about the proposals – with many indicating they would rather see a park or open space on the pier. The Pier was condemned in 2018 and has been vacant for years. The steel pilings holding it up were deemed unsafe by underwater divers and engineers in a reconnaissance study done in 2017 and 2018. Up to that point, the BPDA had hoped to create a new park on the pier – similar to Lawn on D. The failed pilings, however, made that impossible

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