Real Estate

Parcel 9 Delay Indicates a Possible Shift

The long awaited decision on Parcel 9 will take a little more time as Secretary Jeff Mullan took the subject off today’s agenda at the January Department of Transportation meeting. He said the decision was being delayed in order to look at the financial viability of the four proposals. However, the delay could imply a shift toward developer Phillip DeNormandie away from long assumed favorite, Eastat Reality. Eastat previously claimed the advantage spurred by a quick timetable to get the project going with 100% financing lined up with MassHousing & the AFL-CIO Housing Investment Fund along with its own equity for its modest $40 million project. The tenets of the residential apartment project also garnered significant neighborhood support (North End Groups Send Joint Letter on Parcel 9).

DeNormandie's Blackstone Place includes a glass canopy connecting a Parcel 9 office building to its buildings on Blackstone St.
DeNormandie’s Blackstone Place includes a glass canopy connecting a Parcel 9 office building to its buildings on Blackstone St.

Parcel 9 is the triangular shaped lot between Blackstone Street and the Greenway, adjacent to Haymarket.

DeNormandie’s plan includes an office building over a ground market with a glass canopy integrating Blackstone Street. The grand proposal seemed a long shot until the Haymarket Pushcart Association recently put their weight behind the developer. DeNormandie has some financing commitments from the Rockefeller Family, but it is unclear how much. The developer also owns Lewis Wharf on the North End Waterfront and Hodge Boiler Works in East Boston.

The Filene’s hole in Downtown Crossing became a political debacle when its financing dried up, so it is not a surprise the State wants to ensure that its endorsed project can be completed. However, with Eastat having financing in place for a relatively modest project, today’s deferral could indicate MassDOT is leaning toward DeNormandie’s office building instead. There is a chance that MassDOT issues another request for submittal if it does not find the current bids to be acceptable.

In November 2009, the Haymarket Pushcart Association put a wrench in the works when they flip-flopped their support from Eastat Reality’s residential plan over to DeNormandie (Haymarket Vendors Back DeNormandie for Parcel 9). The latter is proposing a phased development as part of a master plan to configure both sides of Blackstone Street where the developer already owns several properties.

Mullan’s decision is a significant reversal from former leadership at MassPike that had put the pending award on a fast track as recently as last October. All the proposals include a ground marketplace that would help create a cleaner, more established public produce market. Over the past few months, the Eastat residential apartment plan had been thought to be the favored plan because it met the RFP requirements for height and had financing in place for its $40-$50 million project.

The Boston Museum has made several efforts for political and community support, but came under fire for only having raised less than $10 million for a large-scale $140 million project. Gutierrez is proposing a 6-story office building totaling 77 feet in height with a ground floor food market.

The fate of Parcel 9 has been widely reported in the past year:

Questions Abound for Parcels 9 and 7
Parcel 9 Apartment Plan Sounds Close to Approval
Parcel 9’s Haymarket/Blackstone Street Bids
No Decision on Parcel 9 – The Plot Thickens
Residential Plan Expected to Gain OK for Parcel 9/Haymarket
North End Groups Send Joint Letter on Parcel 9
BRA’s Comment Letter on Parcel 9 (Haymarket/Blackstone St)
NEWNC Sends Letter on Parcel 9
Boston Museum Makes Final Push For Parcel 9
Parcel 9 Haymarket/Blackstone Street Bidders