A total of 12 firms have responded to Massports solicitations for development along East Boston's picturesque waterfront. Requests For Qualifications (RFQs) were issued last fall, calling for interested developers and operators to submit their plans and ideas for improvements to the area. With guidance from the East Boston community and the East Boston Waterfront Development Advisory Committee, Massport released three separate documents for the development of Pier One, The Marina and The Shipyard.
"This marks the first step in creating a world-class waterfront," said Virginia Buckingham, Massports executive director and CEO. As we move forward in the selection process, well be carefully scrutinizing each candidates past projects and relevant experience as well as soliciting community input. We'll demand that the developers demonstrate a commitment to our neighbors and address their concerns."
Mindful of the communitys concerns with traffic flow, vehicle access and circulation, parking, pedestrian access and more, Massport has appealed to developers to find creative and effective solutions to these issues. A developers briefing was hosted by Massport in December and attracted over 200 interested parties. The groups toured the properties and were given presentations by Massports planning and development teams.
"Ensuring that all submissions meet the RFQ guidelines is the first step in this process," said Lowell Richards, Massports chief development officer. "We have an extremely qualified list of candidates, many of whom have been involved in highly visible projects in Boston. At this point in the process, we are focused on moving forward to select the best finalists, ensuring that they meet our standards and would serve the community well."
Of the 12 responses, two firms have responded to all three RFQs, two firms are interested in developing two of the parcels and eight firms are pursuing development of just one parcel.
Massport has not yet released the names of the interested developers, preferring to meet first with the East Boston Waterfront Development Advisory Committee. The group will convene at Massport offices within the next few weeks to share information and set the selection process in motion.
The development program currently envisioned for this area includes:
Pier 1 and its back lands are slated for residential use with a maximum total of 420-560 units with maximum recommended heights of four stories on Pier 1 and approximately eight stories on the back lands, preservation of view corridors of downtown Boston, restaurant(s), retail uses, accessory parking and public open space including a harbor walk on Pier 1 and an extension of the East Boston Greenway from the back lands to Pier 1 and Piers Park.
The Marina/Pier 5 area which will be developed around recreational water-related activities.
The Shipyard, will remain in use for maritime related business.
The parcels in question encompass several acres of premier land and can accommodate housing, retail, restaurants, and revitalized maritime activities. East Bostons waterfront currently boasts one of the east coasts most notable parks, the beautiful, six-acre, Piers Park. Construction of its sister park, Piers Park Phase II, a four-plus acre parcel will complement the existing park with additional green space. Both Piers Park and Piers Park Phase II are located on the waterfront between Pier One and The Marina /The Shipyard.
Subsequent to this, a short list will be made, whereby two to four developers will be chosen as candidates for final selection. Members of Massport's selection committee will then make a final recommendation from this short list.
Regularly scheduled meetings with the East Boston Waterfront Development Committee will continue through-out the entire developmental process. The East Boston Waterfront Development Committee is comprised of eight community residents and was formed after Massport solicited extensive community comment during six public meetings over a nine month period in 1998 and 1999. Piers PAC, the advisory committee with oversight responsibility for the final design of Piers Park Phase II, also provides significant input to Massport on waterfront development issues.
Members of the East Boston Waterfront Development Committee and their sponsors are:
Patti Sartori, Karen Buttiglieri- State Senator Robert Travaglini
Karen Maddalena, Sal LaMattina- Mayor Thomas M. Menino
James Caruso, Thomas Briand- State Representative Anthony Petrucelli
Robert Strelitz, Maria DiLibero-City Councillor Paul Scapicchio