BPDA Reissues Development Proposals, Requesting Stronger Diversity and Inclusion Criteria

The Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA) Board this month authorized the agency to reissue Request for Proposals (RFPs) for three separate developments on BPDA-owned property which have not sufficiently outlined plans to further the agency’s mission regarding diversity and inclusion. The three developments are Building 108 in the Charlestown Navy Yard, 142 Shawmut Avenue in the South End, and Charlestown Main Street.

This vote builds on the BPDA’s and City of Boston’s ongoing commitment to ensure that developments on agency-owned property advance equity and inclusion in Boston.
“In Boston we believe in using our public land for public good, and that means not only supporting affordable housing, economic development, and good jobs, but creating wealth and opportunities for those who have historically been left out,” said Mayor Martin J. Walsh. “That’s why we’re asking our partners in the development community to step up. If we get this right, Boston can become the leader in promoting diversity and inclusion in development.”
While the proposals for these developments included sufficient design and programmatic elements, the diversity and inclusion plans lacked specific, well documented measures to advance economic opportunities for people of color and women in real estate development and related fields. The agency has encouraged all proponents to re-submit their proposals with robust diversity and inclusion commitments. Additionally, the updated Diversity and Inclusion Plan will comprise 25 percent of the BPDA’s comparative evaluation of each proposal submitted. 
At the same time, the City of Boston and BPDA are working to update the language in RFPs for public land to provide greater clarity on the expectations for submissions, further prioritize diversity and inclusions during the selection process, and strengthen the City’s and the BPDA’s commitment to outcomes which enhance equity.
In 2018, Mayor Walsh committed the BPDA and the City of Boston to including a Diversity and Inclusion evaluation criterion in all real estate disposition RFPs, which requires proponents to include a Diversity and Inclusion Plan to outline their commitments to including M/WBEs in all aspects of their development.
Additionally, the Board authorized the agency to bolster ongoing planning studies in Newmarket by entering into consultant services for the PLAN: Newmarket the 21st Century Economy Initiative to draft a planning document.

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