After considering the four finalists for Parcel 9’s development along Blackstone Street at Haymarket, the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) has thrown its weight behind Eastat Realty. The BRA expressed its opinion in a letter to the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority, the owner of the property.
Eastat’s plan is for a 5-story building that would include 78 apartments above a ground floor produce market. The $35 million project cost was the lowest of the four proposals which could have worked in Eastat’s favor. After the Filene’s financing disaster at Downtown Crossing, the ability to get a project financed and built quickly has taken on greater importance.
Besides viability, also working in favor of Eastat is that the project is in keeping with the 55 foot height limit consistently enforced in the adjoining North End/Waterfront neighborhood. The BRA did express concerns regarding the smell and noise issues associated with having apartments above an open food market. Eastat responded that it has plans to use special windows and that its design will mitigate the noise and trash issues for residents.
The Boston Herald had the following quote, “The Boston Redevelopment Authority believes the Eastat proposal is the most responsive to 15 years of planning with the community,” said Peter Gori, a BRA senior manager.
Per the Boston Globe, “We want a viable project that can happen quickly,’’ said Peter Gori, a senior manager at the BRA. “Realistically, we think we could see this come together within the next couple of years.’’
The Boston Museum is raising the stakes, however, with a final push for supporters. The Boston Business Journal is reporting that Live Nation (concert promoter), Boys & Girls Club and Suffolk Construction have lined up in support. In its letter, the BRA liked the concept of the Museum but is skeptical it can raise the $120 million for the project to make it viable. The Museum itself expects that it will take at least four years for the Museum to raise enough financing to start its proposed development.
Regarding the other proposals, the City did not like DeNormandie’s glass canopy raising several concerns regarding compatibility, maintenance, ventilation and landmark commission requirements. The Gutierrez project for a 6 story office building with a limited market did not appear to meet the BRA’s focus of a dynamic ground floor marketplace. The City questioned the developer’s intent to have the arcade space “mitigate rent risk for the Gutierrez Company.”
See this previous post for more detailed information on the Eastat and other proposals: A Look at the Four Finalists for Parcel 9 Along Blackstone Street & Haymarket