According to members of Mayor Carlo DeMaria’s staff, the city is currently undertaking a feasibility study to determine what the best use of the former Everett High School building on Broadway would be, so that a detailed request for proposals (RFP) can be advertised in the near future and hopefully yield a number of attractive redevelopment options for the city to consider.
The current and future use of the old high school building is an issue that was first raised by the Board of Aldermen last month, but Mayor DeMaria’s staff this week explained that the deliberate pace of the RFP process is by design and aimed at making sure the city is able to define for developers what it would like to see in a redevelopment of the site.
“Obviously, the desire is to have an expedited RFP process at this point and some in the community may not feel the process is moving quickly enough,” explained Press Secretary Alyson DellIsola. “However, the Mayor and the Planning and Development department are currently conducting a feasibility study, because the original blanket RFP came back with a variety of scenarios that were not well received by the community or the neighbors.”
Dell Isola explained that the intent in this iteration of the development process, is to identify for developers the types of redevelopment that would be acceptable to the city, to encourage serious developers, willing to work the community, to submit proposals.
“Right now, they’re trying to research as much as possible and identify what the city would like to see there,” she said. “The Mayor doesn’t want to rush into a situation that could backfire on the community and not be the right fit later on. It really is about finding the best fit for the building, for the neighborhood and for the city as a whole.”
As for community input into the process, Dell Isola noted that the city did reach out for public input prior to the previous RFP process and the information from that process, as well as current market conditions would help to shape the current study process.
“We’d hate to sell the building to a developer, only to have that development become a burden to the community later on,” she said.
Dell Isola also explained that the building is currently being used primarily to house the programs of the Everett Boys and Girls Club, which uses the Field House and a selection of classrooms on the first floor near to the field house.
The city does not collect any rent from the Boys and Girls Club, but has collected rent from other, for profit and non-city uses, such as an Islamic group that rented a portion of the building during the holy month of Ramadan, but has since stopped using the building. According to Dell Isola, the Islamic church did pay rent to the city, and also paid for police details to assist with parking and safety issues and purchased insurance for the building during their use of the building.
There are no paying tenants currently in the building.