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Developers submit proposals for Boston State Hospital site

Yawu Miller
Yawu Miller
Yawu Miller is the Banner’s senior editor. VIEW BIO
Developers submit proposals for Boston State Hospital site
The Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance has received six bids for the last 10-acre parcel of the former Boston State Hospital site. BANNER FILE PHOTO

Nearly four decades after the commonwealth opened the door to real estate development on the Boston State Hospital site, a use for the last 10-acre portion could be determined early next year.

The Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance (DCAMM) has received six bids for the parcel. Five developers are proposing housing on the site, which abuts Mass Audubon’s Boston Nature Center, the MassBiologics state lab and Harvard Street. One development team is calling for an urban farming and business incubator space.

Four of the six teams that have submitted bids include developers of color. Two of the six are pairings of white developers and nonprofits headed by people of color.

“I am happy with the range of proposals,” said District 4 City Councilor Andrea Campbell. “They are robust, and the individuals involved are diverse.”

A spokesman from the DCAMM did not respond by the Banner’s press deadline to a request for an interview for this story. According to sources familiar with the process, DCAMM received proposals from the following teams:

CERO/Sheldon Lloyd

In the sole non-housing-focused bid for the parcel, Dorchester-based CERO Coop, which currently runs a worker-owned commercial composting business, has teamed up with City Fresh Foods CEO Sheldon Lloyd with a proposal for a space that would house an urban farming operation and a business incubator focused on local entrepreneurs.

Cruz Companies

Cruz has already developed 45 affordable housing units and 54 market-rate homes in its Harvard Commons development located on the former Boston State Hospital site to the north of the parcel currently up for bids. John B. Cruz Construction, Cruz Development and Cruz Management have built, owned and managed affordable and market-rate housing in Boston and throughout Massachusetts since the original Cruz Company was founded by John Cruz Jr. in 1948.

Accordia Partners LLC/Toll Brothers

Boston-based real estate developer Kirk Sykes’ Accordia Partners LLC has teamed up with Pennsylvania-based luxury housing builder Toll Brothers. Sykes is best known for the Crosstown Development, one of the city’s first major black-led development projects, which includes a hotel, office building and parking garage at Melnea Cass Boulevard and Massachusetts Avenue.

Lena New Boston LLC

The Dorchester-based Lena Park Community Development Corporation and New Boston Real Estate Investment Fund, headed by developer Jerome Rappaport Jr., teamed up previously on the 152-unit Olmsted Green development at the west end of the former State Hospital site.

Thomas Welch & Associates

Roxbury-based real estate developer and financier Thomas Welch has been instrumental in assembling financing for numerous projects in Boston, including the above-mentioned Crosstown development.

Caribbean Community Development/Planning Office for Urban Affairs, Inc.

The developers — a team comprised of the Mattapan-based Caribbean Integration Community Development nonprofit and the real estate development arm of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston — earlier this year got the green light from the Boston Planning and Development Agency for a 76-unit development at the site of the former Cote Ford dealership on Cummings Highway.

The Boston State Hospital Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC), which has the authority to select development teams for the site, has not yet met to review the proposals, according to CAC member Royal Bolling Jr.

“We’ll start reviewing them after the first of the year,” he said.

Bolling said the CAC has not put a timeline on the process. He noted that the CAC in the past has expressed a preference for owner-occupied housing in addition to rental units.

Fatima Ali-Salaam, chair of the Mattapan Neighborhood Council, said that body might be in favor of the urban agriculture/business incubator project.

“The council is interested in projects that actually include current Mattapan residents in meaningful ways that generate wealth,” she said. “People want to have jobs that are local, that are part of the green economy.”

State Rep. Russell Holmes said he would like to see community input on the development team.

“I would like the community to have a strong voice in this site,” he said. “I would also like to see the state and the CAC make a decision by this spring.”

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