Massport to Offer Mixed-Income Development Opportunity in South Boston Waterfront
Would be first of its kind in district
BOSTON – The Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) is looking to further diversify its portfolio in the South Boston Waterfront by offering an opportunity to develop one of its parcels for a project with a mix of unit affordability levels. Such a project would be the first of its kind in this district. Massport is issuing a RFQ seeking developers interested in the parcel. The Authority anticipates issuing a RFP in the spring of 2022 and selecting a developer in the fall of 2022.
“We heard the call from both Governor Baker and Mayor Wu for the need to create more affordable housing, and we are doing our part to address this significant issue,” said Massport CEO Lisa Wieland. “Our intention is for this project to help address the housing availability and affordability as well as diversity, equity, and inclusion in the South Boston Waterfront.”
Parcel D-4 is a narrow site of approximately 27,000 SF fronting on D Street and adjacent to the South Boston Waterfront Transportation Center (SBWTC). The parcel sits above the I-90 tunnel, and was planned and engineered by Massport and MassDOT to support future air-rights development when the tunnel was built as part of the Central Artery/Tunnel Project.
“This is a great opportunity to use a public asset to provide affordable housing in this growing neighborhood,” said State Senator Nick Collins, who represents the South Boston Waterfront. “Too many families are priced out of City of Boston. I fully support Massport’s efforts to create affordable housing on this site.”
“I applaud Massport’s efforts and look forward to seeing this important project come to fruition” said State Representative David Biele of South Boston “We have heard time and again about what is needed in the South Boston Waterfront and affordable housing has always been on that list.”
As the design for the SBWTC was adjusted, this remaining area was identified as an opportunity for development. Staff engaged area public-sector and private-sector leaders in developing mixed-income projects to identify and explore the parcel’s attributes and potential to support such a project on Parcel D-4. Such as:
- A narrow footprint well-suited to residential floorplates;
- Multiple nearby MBTA Silver Line stations;
- An existing, connected parking supply in the SBWTC; and
- A growing and diverse mix of nearby employment (and career-training) opportunities.
There is an urgent need for more affordable housing in Boston. In the city overall, approximately 19 percent of housing units are income-restricted, whereas only eight percent in the South Boston Waterfront are, one of the lowest among all Boston neighborhoods. Residential (rental and ownership) options are expanding in this district; however, no affordable housing projects have been developed. These types of projects can take years to finalize due to the multiple, complex rounds of funding required to finance them. Massport is exploring options to streamline and accelerate the process.
Pursuing a mixed-income residential project will advance Massport’s economic development mission. Developing this infill parcel will also complete an important missing piece of urban architecture along D Street. To date, Massport has created 1,775 units of housing, including over 126 on-site affordable units while providing approximately $31 million for affordable housing (1,200 affordable units) through the Inclusionary Development Policy and Neighborhood Housing Trust.
As it has with recent commercial development projects in the South Boston Waterfront, in offering Parcel D-4, Massport will again define Diversity, Equity and Inclusion as one of four equally-weighted selection criteria, along with the Ability to Execute, Level of Affordability, and Design and Public Realm. Massport will place special emphasis on the breadth of diversity, equity, and inclusion throughout all components of the project team, including the role of women and people of color in leadership positions.
The Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) owns and operates Boston Logan International Airport, public terminals in the Port of Boston, Hanscom Field and Worcester Regional Airport. For more information, please visit www.massport.com.