Everett Redevelopment Authority (ERA) members said they were encouraged with the interest in the parking lot parcels at Everett Square through the recent bidding process that has taken place through the summer.
After a meeting of the ERA Monday night, City Planner Tony Sousa said they had received five proposals from their Request for Information (RFI) they put out to the development world at the end of the spring.
“The purpose of the RFI was to gauge if there was interest,” he said. “Indeed, there was interest. We talked to other redevelopment authorities in Malden and Worcester and five proposals are pretty solid. Sometimes you don’t get any and sometimes you get a couple. We have been told that three to five proposals is the sweet spot.”
The ERA had put out a previous RFI for the Square last year, and got back three proposals. However, at that time, the City had not yet been approved by the state for its Everett Square Urban Renewal Plan (URP). After having been approved for that plan earlier this year, they decided to put out another RFI. Only one proponent from the earlier round re-submitted, Sousa said.
Those who have submitted proposals include:
•Sal Sacro of the Sacro Development.
•Di Girolomo Cos./Rich Di Girolomo, owner of Braza Grille property.
•Legacy Building and Development/Charlie Zammuto, developer of the old pizza place on Main Street.
•Chestnut Equity/Building Wealth & Communities/Boston Realty Advisors (Joint venture).
The RFI was specifically gauging interest in the parking lots in Everett Square adjacent to Braza Grille and the Sacro Tower. The City has called for a mixed-use development that would include residential and retail on the ground floor. There was a preference for developers who were willing and able to leverage relationships with adjacent property owners to combine parcels and create a larger development along with the parking lots.
“We were asking for developers that could develop the lots and also strike a partnership with existing property owners particularly on the corner of Everett Square – the Bouvier building is one of them, of course,” he said.
He said there is also a major preference by the City for developers whose proposals include retaining existing tenants in the buildings. They do not want to see businesses in the Square displaced by new development, he said.
After an executive session on Monday, the ERA decided they would likely hire an outside consultant to give them expert opinions on the five proposals. He said they would be working very hard throughout the fall to evaluate the five proposals, with the goal of coming to the City Council in November with a full recommendation.
This time around, Sousa said they improved their outreach using internal development channels and local media – as well as social media and e-mail blasts to prominent developers throughout the Northeast.
He said the RFI was just the beginning of what will likely be a re-make of the Square in a public/private partnership that will include numerous parcels in and around the Broadway corridor.
“We are excited to get interest back, but also excited to get interest in the caliber of the different firms that put their plans and ideas together for the ERA,” he said. “It’s a good process and we’re committed. At this point, we’re rolling up our sleeves and we’ll be working with the consultant to help us evaluate what we received.” He said they have not yet hired a consultant, but would be on the market to look for one very soon