BPDA Issues RFP for Charlestown’s Shipyard Park

The Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) board voted to issue a Request for Proposals (RFP)  from qualified respondents for waterfront activation at Shipyard Park in the Charlestown Navy Yard, a nearly 12-acre community park featuring gardens, a playground, paved walkways, a granite amphitheater, public seating, and the Massachusetts Korean War Veterans Memorial.

The BPDA is interested in building upon the success of previous activation, like the recent beer garden at the park, with a new qualified party to enter into a license agreement with the BPDA to activate Shipyard Park.

The chosen party will enter into a lease with the BPDA for three annual terms running from March 1, 2022 – February 28, 2023, March 1, 2023 – February 29, 2024, and March 1, 2024 – February 28, 2025 and pay a flat monthly rent of $3,000 plus a minimum of 15 percent of monthly gross receipts.

According to the RFP, the BPDA is looking for an interested party to provide a benefit to the community in the form of the promotion, use, and enjoyment of the waterfront. The chosen candidate will create a welcoming and accessible destination for a diverse cross-section of the city’s residents and neighbors through programming which actively breaks down barriers to diversity and inclusion in visitation to the Navy Yard; educate the public about the history of the Navy Yard and Boston Harbor, the marine science of the local waterways, and the impacts of climate change; and support local artists and entrepreneurs.

“A key objective of the RFP will be to allow the licensee the opportunity to generate reasonable revenue while providing a vibrant public destination for participants from diverse backgrounds,” said the BPDA’s RFP. “Proposals are expected to include a plan to attract users from Boston neighborhoods and adjacent communities and provide opportunities for local businesses and artists to participate in the proposed activation.”

In 2007, the BPDA completed the Waterfront Activation Network and Water-Dependent Use Management Plans for the Navy Yard, which augmented both the 1991 Municipal Harbor Plan and the Navy Yard Master Plan. The plans promoted and conceptualized a proposal to expand the public’s access to and enjoyment of the waterfront, watersheet, and the Navy Yard.

Building upon the plans and strong expressions of interest for various types of public activation, the BPDA requested proposals in 2018 from interested, able, and ready proponents to activate the waterfront and watersheet of the Navy Yard through temporary, seasonal, and/or recurring uses and programming that would enhance the enjoyment of the area.

A license was awarded in 2019 to an RFP respondent that subsequently set up a beer and wine garden, the proceeds from which supported public programming and public realm investments in Shipyard Park. The license was extended through the 2020 and 2021 seasons.

In 2020, the activation provided a safe, clean, outdoor public amenity for socially-distant gathering during the COVID-19 pandemic and the revenue share agreement resulted in over $58,000 of funding for public activation.  All of these funds were spent on site for free, open-to-the-public events and public benefits which included fitness classes, artists events, live music, community youth programming, comedy performances, and seasonal activities.

After proposals are reviewed by the BPDA evaluation committee, a recommendation to award a license will be brought before the BPDA Board in early 2022.

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