News on the development of 585 Commercial Street has taken a serious turn toward the benefit of Downtown Boston families as the City of Boston is close to acquiring the property for a new K-8 public school, according to people close to the situation.
The new school is expected to open in 2016 and serve 500 students or 2 strands from Kindergarten to the 8th Grade. Preliminary plans call for a school separate from the Eliot K-8 Innovation School, also in the North End. In the interim, the property could be used temporarily by the Eliot as it renovates its own building and phases in use of the recently acquired North Bennet Street School properties.
Even with the expanded Eliot, parents in Downtown have been actively lobbying the city for more school options given an increasing number of families staying in the city. Located at the junction of the North End / Waterfront, West End and Charlestown near the N. Washington St. bridge, the site would be walking distance from several neighborhoods in Downtown Boston. The property at 585 Commercial Street is between the public tennis courts next to the bridge and the State-owned (MassDOT) Steriti Skating Rink. Potential development prospects for the vacant property were recently reported by the Zoning, Licensing and Construction Committee of the North End / Waterfront Residents’ Association.
The existing offices at 585 Commercial St. are largely vacant now that the Mitt Romney presidential campaign has left the building. The last permanent ground floor tenant was a retail showroom for Roche Bobois Furniture. The property also includes the private parking lot next to the tennis courts, made famous by Tenacity-gate.
Mayor Menino is expected to make an official announcement with Boston Public Schools on Friday morning at the site.