(Image courtesy Department of Neighborhood Development)
Even after the Department of Neighborhood Development extended the deadline for development proposals for a series of vacant Dudley Street lots, the agency still did not receive any bids for the parcels.
The original November 5 deadline had been extended to December 12, to allow DND to continue outreach and encourage more submissions.
Located in the approximate area of 483 Dudley St., the six vacant sites range in size from 1,240 square feet to 3,800 square feet and connect for total of 14,030 square feet.
Currently owned by the city, the parcels were assessed in 2013 for $131,000. No price, however, was set by city for the properties.
The public advertisement of the properties by the city, referred to as a Request for Proposals, called for the construction of a series of structures to house ground floor retail space in addition to commercial and office space. Once constructed the property would be owned and managed by the developer.
According to the RFP — the standard process for selling public property — uses that were of a particular interest to the community included sit-down coffee shops, credit unions, and institutional services. Liquor stores, hair salons, fast food shops, and dollar stores were discouraged.
Potential proposals were also encouraged to incorporate a number of city initiatives, including the Urban Agricultural Rezoning project and energy positive buildings.
The parcels were not being offered individually and any potential design would have to incorporate all the parcels into its plan.
“While we are disappointed, we’re reaching out to people who toured the property to see why they didn’t reply,” explained Sheila Dillon, director of the Department of Neighborhood Development. “There was a lot of interest in it, a lot of people toured the site, but we got no applications.”
Although the lack of applicants is a blow to the city’s effort to turn the vacant lots into both tax revenue and something positive for the community, Dillon said DND is not deterred and will be working with those that expressed interest in the properties to find out why they didn’t apply.
“I think people felt like they didn’t have enough time to secure potential tenants and some were concerned about the change in administration (the RFP was advertised under the Menino Administration),” said Dillon. “We’re going to take all the comments we gather and see if the RFP needs to be changed; maybe it will be altered from an exclusive commercial development, to something more mixed-use.”
DND officials now will head back to the drawing board as they look at ways to refine the RFP. A new RFP is expected to be issued in February, according to Dillon.