MassDOT , the State’s transportation agency, wants to know what promises the final two bidders for the Parcel 9 development have made to the Haymarket Pushcart Association (HPA). The HPA is an important part of the development’s prospects because its operations are literally in and around the Greenway parcel. In letters sent out this week to Normandy Real Estate Partners, LLC (pdf) and Blackstone Market, LLC (pdf), MassDOT has asked for the information as part of its review of the Best and Final Offers. The letters state:
Specifically, please provide any and all information regarding any arrangements, offers, contracts, commitments, or promises made by [Normandy Real Estate Partners, LLC or Blackstone Market, LLC] or any of its principals or agents to the Haymarket Pushcart Association or any other third party regarding the provision and/or pricing of any services, equipment, space, direct or indirect financial support, or other benefits, including, but not limited to trash compactors, trash removal costs, storage facilities, street improvements, and any similar or related amenities regarding your proposed development on Parcel 9.
During the bidding process, developers have attempted to garner support from the HPA and at least one prior proponent made a financial offer. All have made various references to operational benefits that would be enjoyed by the pushcart operators. In a previous failed round of bidding, the HPA’s opposition was instrumental in blocking the State from making a designation.
The HPA has come out strongly in support of the Cresset / DeNormandie’s Blackstone Market proposal and against Normandy Partners’ Haymarket Square Hotel. In a recent comment letter to MassDOT, HPA President, Otto Gallotto, addressed the issue of whether the HPA is “being bought.”
Despite my distaste to do so, I find myself compelled to confront the innuendo in your letter that the HPA’s preference for the Blackstone proposal is somehow being bought. Let me make it plain that all four proponents offered one form or another of benefits to the operation of the Haymarket. Our support for the Blackstone proposal is based upon our strong belief that its proposal is much more compatible with the future viability of the Haymarket and its operations than the alternative of a massive hotel complex. Although the Blackstone group – like the others – has put forth a variety of ideas to improve and/or protect the future viability of the market, I can assure you that none of them involve the type of direct payment to the HPA proposed by at least one other project proponent.
Responses to the latest MassDOT request are due on January 23, 2013 at 2:00 p.m. MassDOT is expected to reconvene the Parcel 7 & 9 Advisory Committee shortly thereafter.
Parcel 9 is the triangular plot of land created by the Big Dig adjacent to Haymarket and the Rose F. Kennedy Greenway, bounded by Blackstone, North and Hanover Streets.