Forest Hills T parcel back on the market

The MBTA is taking another stab at selling a large parcel of land it owns south of the Forest Hills T Station near Roslindale, two years after its initial effort to unload the land was scuttled by the economic downturn. The MBTA’s last attempt to sell the 137,000-square-foot lot—located south of Ukraine Way on Hyde Park Avenue—ended up with no bidders by the original due date in May 2009. This second round of bidding, originally set to close next month, has been extended to July 20.

The T also this spring put out a request for proposals (RFP) for another parcel that got no bids in 2009—the Forest Hills Station parking lot, directly south of the station. That RFP is intended to gauge developer interest in the complicated project of redeveloping the lot while maintaining its 240 parking spaces, MBTA spokesperson Joe Pesaturo told the Gazette.

The RFP responses, which are due June 1, will help the T determine if it wants to issue a new Invitation to Bid (ITB) for the lot, he said.

The current ITB and RFP were published on April 6 on the Transit Realty Associates website, Transit Realty Associates is a real estate company that manages MBTA-owned property.

Pesaturo did not repond to Gazette inquiries about whether anyone has responded to the ITB or RFP.

For the parcel it is selling, the MBTA is offering a sweeter deal than in 2009. The minimum bid has been reduced from $1.65 million to $1.55 million. Also, the new ITB offers developers the option of purchasing development rights through a long-term ground lease instead of requiring a lump-sum, up-front purchase, Pesaturo told the Gazette in an email.

That parcel, known as Parcel U, and the station parcel—Parcel S—were two of five MBTA-owned parcels that, along with a large, privately owned parking lot in the area were the subjects of a community visioning process known as the Forest Hills Improvement Initiative (FHII). The over two-year Boston Redevelopment Authority-led FHII started in 2006.

When four of the MBTA-owned FHII parcels were put out for bid in 2009, only the two smallest—Parcels V and W—were sold. Those parcels, which flank Washington Street on the Arboretum side of the station, were sold to local developer WCI Corp.

WCI plans to build an office a retail development that, as the Gazette previously reported, will likely include a new home for the Harvest Co-op.

The community vision for Parcel U calls for 120 residential units to be built on the site, 5,000 square feet of retail space and 30,000 square feet of open space. The community vision recommends that the housing to be three- and four-story wood frame buildings and the commercial space, on the corner of Ukraine Way and Hyde Park Avenue, to be brick.

The station parking lot parcel—Parcel S—was envisioned in the FHII process as a neighborhood center, prominently featuring a large plaza.


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