By Seth Daniel
The MBTA has put out a public bid for office space in its Everett Shops building – a move that was apparently sparked by Wynn Boston Harbor, which inquired about using the newly vacant space during construction.
Wynn, however, is not completely sure it will pursue the space, but has an interest.
Spokesman Joe Pesaturo said the Everett Shops is a very busy facility, but space opened up this year when the MBTA outsourced its warehousing operations.
That’s when Wynn Boston Harbor approached the T, having already gone through the T’s procurement process once before when purchasing property around the Shops for its service road some years ago.
“Space at the Everett facility opened up after the MBTA outsourced its warehousing operations earlier this year,” he said. “An abutter (Wynn) inquired about using any available vacant space while they construct their neighboring facility… This unused property represents an excellent opportunity for the MBTA to generate some non-fare revenue.”
Wynn Boston Harbor officials said it is an open public bidding process and they haven’t put in any bids on the space as of this week. They also said they are weighing their options and may not pursue the office space.
Because state law requires all leases of more than 12 months to be advertised with an Invitation to Bid – that is why the public process has begun to play out. The minimum bid is $600,000 over a two-year lease – making the commitment $1.2 million over the course of the lease.
Pesaturo said the lease is temporary, and it gives the MBTA the ability to take the space back at the end of the two-year period.
“The temporary nature of this agreement gives the MBTA the ability to get the space back if needed for any reason. The timing works out well for the MBTA – putting existing vacant space to use while generating extra revenue to support MBTA operations.”
Mayor Carlo DeMaria has commented publicly several times about his desire to have Wynn purchase and take over the Everett Shops. Most recently, during his State of the City address, he called for Wynn to look at buying the facility for an additional hotel.
He greeted the news that the MBTA is putting some space out to lease in the Shops as good news.
“As I said in my last State of the City speech, we must maximize the use of all facilities and land in the City of Everett,” he said. “At that time I urged Mr. Wynn and his team to aggressively pursue the MBTA maintenance and storage facility site because it was not the highest or best use of that facility. I am strongly encouraged that the Baker Administration has issued a request for proposals for the facility and that the Wynn team is expressing an interest in the property.”
Wynn has purchased several properties in the Lower Broadway area, but hasn’t expressed a formal interest in the Everett Shops until now. Though it is a temporary lease, many argue locally that it could be a foot in the door.
Public bids on the vacant space are being accepted until noon on Aug. 28.