Parcel 11A and 128 North Street (MassDOT Image)

On a recent hot and humid evening this week at the Nazzaro Community Center, representatives from the the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) hosted a public meeting to announce two soon-to-be-released RFPs for two properties in the North End, both facing the Rose F. Kennedy Greenway North End Parks. The specific parcels are:

  1. Parcel 11A is the land in front of Mother Anna’s restaurant
  2. The Callahan Tunnel Administration Building is at 128 North Street

John Romano, MassDOT’s Director of the Office of Outdoor Advertising, started the meeting by welcoming those in attendance and then introduced the MassDOT panel, which included Bill Tuttle, Director of Real Estate and Asset Development and Rick Colon, Director of Community Relations. MassDOT’s Legislative and Community Affairs Liaison, Jim Kersten, who is the lead on this project, explained the slides and provided information about the two parcels.

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There were about 40 people in attendance, and overall the crowd had questions about the RFP process and about aspects of the 128 North Street building and parcel 11A. The atmosphere was friendly and informative, and the meeting wrapped up after 30 minutes. Below are details related to the two parcels.

Parcel 11A, in front of Mother Anna’s Restaurant (Photo by Cheryl Ransom)

Parcel 11A – In Front of the Mother Anna’s restaurant

  • 2900-square feet
  • will be sold to the highest responsible bidder
  • sidewalk around property will be maintained by MassDOT as will the Tony DeMarco statue
  • utilities 20 feet underground; will be detailed in the RFP
  • RFP will be released in late October
  • bidders’ conference date will be announced in the RFP
  • Height restriction of 55 feet, per City of Boston zoning
128 North Street (Photo by Cheryl Ransom)

128 North Street, the Callahan Tunnel Administration Building

  • 5400 square feet of office space on three floors
  • will be leased (99-year lease)
  • space will be accessed through the front of the building
  • back of the building is occupied by the North Bennet Street School
  • lawn and driveway will remain and are not included in the lease
  • grassy area in front of the building will remain open to the public
  • historic toll booth, the time capsule within the building, and the large plaque will remain on this property
  • there will be no parking in front of the building, and the garage will remain for MassDOT purposes
  • RFP will be released in November or December
  • bidders’ conference date will be announced in the RFP
  • a one-day tour of the space will be offered
  • community input will be taken into account by MassDOT in the awarding of this lease

Questions from meeting attendees:

Has a HazMat survey been done on the 128 North Street site?
The audience was told that one might have been done, but that MassDOT currently doesn’t have the information. They will post that information through the RFP process.

Will folks have access to the [128 North] building before submitting a proposal?
There will be a one-time tour of the 128 North building.

Could someone build across/over the tunnel?
No. This had been considered at one point, but the MassDOT decided against it.

Approximately how long will applicants have to respond to the RFPs?
The timeframe will be different for each; roughly 60-90 days most likely.

Why a 99-year lease?
The MassDOT decided on a lease because carving the garage out of a sale would have been complicated, and also the building has historical value.

Next steps:

Once the RFPs have been released, questions will need to be emailed (email to be included in the RFPs), and will be answered online publicly so that all potential bidders will have access to the same information.

Interested bidders in these two RFPs should sign up for an account at the Massachusetts Realty Group: Real Estate Consultants to the MBTA at https://www.mbtarealty.com/.

Cheryl Ransom is a resident of Boston’s North End and contributor to NorthEndWaterfront.com.