In a long-awaited move, the City of Boston has formally issued a request for proposal for two adjacent, vacant buildings in the North End near the Greenway on North and Richmond Streets. The buildings are now vacant but were last used as the city’s printing press and police station. The most likely interested parties are the North Bennet Street School and residential housing developers.
North Bennet Street School, a trade and craft school currently located in the North End, has expressed high interest in the site for its expansion. However, the private school has questioned its ability to outbid a housing developer when discussing its plan at neighborhood meetings. NBSS instead proposed a building swap with the City that would allow for the expansion of the North End’s public K-8 Eliot School. North End and Downtown parents have long petitioned the City to expand the Eliot School, that is nearly adjacent to NBSS.
The swap idea was supported in a May 2011 letter by the North End / Waterfront Residents’ Association as a way to keep NBSS in the North End while allowing for the Eliot’s expansion. However, in its own letter, the Boston Finance Commission is at least one entity that says the city’s buildings should go to the highest bidder.
Michael Galvin from the City’s Division of Public Property is quoted in today’s Boston Herald:
“The school in the North End would love to have it,” Galvin said. “And there’s a couple people that would love to have it for condos and residences. It does have about 15 parking spaces out back — which is unheard of in the North End.”
One interested developer is Matteo Gallo who is also quoted in the article. “I’m still interested,” Gallo said. “I’m going to respond to (the RFP) and most likely it’ll be apartments.
Bids to the city are due on January 20, 2012 with an expected sale date of March 2012.
[Update: The bid deadline has been extended to February 16, 2012.]