The following is a shared letter exchange regarding the final Parcel 9 development designation between Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) Secretary & CEO Richard Davey and Mr. Frederick A. (Tad) Stahl, FAIA of the Beacon Hill Civic Association and a member of the Parcel 7 & 9 Advisory Committee. Several previous comment letters can be found in a post here. All related posts are available at the tag, Parcel 9.
22 December 2012
Secretary of Transportation Davey
Massachusetts Department of Transportation
State Transportation Building at Ten Park Plaza
Boston MA 02116
Re: Parcel 9 Developer Designation
Dear Secretary Davey,
I very much appreciate your December 16 response to my most recent comments on the Parcel 9 development designation process which I received today and which I assume you will not mind my sharing with the other members of the Parcel 7 & 9 Advisory Committee. I am encouraged by your emphasis on the continuing relevance and importance of community preferences in the final selection. This is something of a departure from what the Advisory Committee had been told at our last meeting with MassDOT on November 27th. As the follow-up Advisory Committee letter of December 4th made quite clear, it had been then explicitly stated that DOT had determined both of the final proposals to be acceptable on the basis of their best and final offers, and that the decision between them would, therefore, be based solely on financial grounds. The Advisory Committee did not consider this DOT position to be either appropriate or advisable, and I am glad to see that the DOT position is now as you have stated it.
Since community preferences are to remain relevant, I want to be clear on one additional point: the preferences of the Parcel 7 & 9 Advisory Committee have never been sought by DOT, either in the initial round of proposal evaluation or since. To the contrary, in the initial round submissions the Advisory Committee was requested not to express any preference but to comment only on the strengths and weaknesses of the four proposals, which we did in detail and at some length. When we asked, at our most recent meeting, about the Committee’s prospective role in the final selection process, we were told that the Advisory Committee preference between the two finalists was not being solicited because it was no longer relevant.
Since then, a majority of members of the Advisory Committee, myself included, have expressed our unsolicited preferences in no small part to make it abundantly clear that the two Parcel 9 finalists are not equally acceptable. As you know, these preferences were consistently in support of the Blackstone Market submission as most appropriate and effective in meeting the goals and aspirations of a successful Boston Market District project. It is especially notable that the strong preference for the
Blackstone Market proposal was shared by the Haymarket Pushcart Association, which best represents the historic pushcart market operation on which the overall success of the Market District must be built.
In effect, this recent expression of our opinions is the first indication of a strong preference by the Parcel 7 & 9 Advisory Committee and, by extension, of the communities which MassDOT convened and charged us to represent. It is heartening to know that our preference will be taken seriously into account in the final DOT decision-making process. Since we are virtually unanimous in our support of the Blackstone Market proposal and are thoroughly familiar with of all the relevant attributes of both of these submissions (excepting only their respective financial proposals) it follows and we trust that any financial difference between the two finalists would have to be significant indeed to overcome it.
Frederick A. (Tad) Stahl FAIA
Beacon Hill Civic Association
MassDOT Parcel 7 & 9 Advisory Committee