BPDA’s board of directors today agreed to let the developers of a residential and hotel building project on Tremont Street in Chinatown eliminate space for the long-awaited BPL Chinatown branch due to funding complications caused by Covid-19.
But the council also approved a plan to issue a request for proposals for a city-owned parcel between Tyler, Hudson and Harvard streets this would include space for the BPL branch.
Reay Pannesi, a senior BPDA official, said the proposed developers of the Tremont site, known as Parcel P-12C, had financial problems due to Covid-19 that other developers in the city did not have, due to the unique nature of their project – a joint venture of a hospital, hotel, and community nonprofit group, which relied in part on funding from other operations that themselves suffered pandemic-related slowdowns.
The BPDA vote was technically to give developers an additional six months to organize funding for the complex.
The vote came minutes after the board of directors voted to issue a request for proposals for the Tyler / Hudson / Harvard parcel, also known as R-1, which was the former “temporary” home of d ‘a branch of the YMCA that operated for about 30 years.
The tender calls for developers willing to construct a building with more affordable housing than is normally required by city bylaws as well as ways to help preserve Chinatown’s culture and community, Pannesi said. She said part of that would include space for the proposed library branch, which would replace a temporary library in BPDA’s Chinatown Trade Center on Boylston Street, near Washington Street.
Pannesii said the BPL was “very excited” about the R1 site, as it is larger than the one on Tremont Street, meaning that more, if not all, of the library could be built on one. floor. Additionally, it is located more centrally in Chinatown, while the Tremont Street site, while not exactly on the outskirts of Chinatown, is separated from most of it by the Theater District.
The first construction that could begin on the site is January 1, 2023, after the expiration of the lease that Tufts Medical Center is to use the plot for parking.
The BPDA board vote did not set any deadline for the RFP, such as when it is sent or when interested developers should apply. Once the proposals are received, the BPDA should then take the time to review them and select one, after which it would hold a public hearing before the board votes on the proposal.