Boston, MA- Today the BHA issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for developers to preserve and rebuild existing affordable housing at the Mary Ellen McCormack public housing development in South Boston. The issuance of the RFP comes as BHA is seeking ways to upgrade and sustain its affordable housing communities in the wake of historic federal budget cuts.
“It’s imperative that we think outside the box to preserve our existing affordable housing as well as develop new housing to meet the future housing needs of all of our city’s residents,” said Mayor Martin J. Walsh. “I’m excited because this project has the potential to meet the housing needs of people from a broad spectrum of economic backgrounds.”
Mary Ellen McCormack, completed in 1938 is the first public housing development built in New England. McCormack includes 1,016 units of federally subsidized public housing apartments in 27 three and four story, walk-up and row-house buildings and a management office. It is the BHA’s hope to redevelop the site in separate phases over time. The goal is to replace the 1,016 units of public housing with an equal number of deeply subsidized units. The BHA’s objective is to leverage the market value of the property in order to avoid displacement of low-income residents, preserve affordability for extremely low-income households, and ensure long-term operational sustainability.
The developer will also be expected to involve residents of the Mary Ellen McCormack public housing development first and foremost, and the broader South Boston community throughout the redevelopment process and in future operations of the property.
It is anticipated that at least a three-year planning process will be needed prior to any construction start for the first phase of development.
“We look forward to receiving creative ideas that will preserve and protect our affordable housing resources for the future,” said BHA Administrator Bill McGonagle. “We are proceeding in this manner to ensure that our current residents of Hailey apartments and future residents of the city in need of affordable housing have this valuable resource to call home for generations to come.”
The BHA Administrator and other BHA staff have been meeting with residents of the development and local elected officials for over a year to discuss the RFP. Also prior to this issuance, BHA issued a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) in November, 2014 asking the non-profit and for-profit development community for ideas about how to preserve public housing units with decreased reliance on federal subsidy, which has been shrinking for many years. There is a copy of the RFQ and more information on the BHA’s funding situation in our Five-Year Plan on the BHA’s website.
Following the selection process, the BHA will issue a Letter of Designation to the selected developer. The developer will then carry out a comprehensive design and resident engagement process needed to finalize the redevelopment program and to secure funding for the project.
It is the BHA’s intent to preserve its public housing portfolio and to protect existing residents. An informational only copy of the RFP is available for download from the BHA’s website under News. Proposer submission copies of the RFP MUST be obtained directly from the BHA’s Procurement Department. All proposals must be received by May 3, 2017 at 2:00 pm at the Boston Housing Authority, Procurement Dept., 6th Floor, 52 Chauncy Street, Boston, MA 02111. Interested developers may subscribe to the BHA’s electronic mailing list to receive future bid notices.