Six groups have come forward with bids to develop the municipal parking lot on Austin Street in Newtonville.
According to the received bids document, B'nai B'rith Housing, Austin St. Partners LLC, Newton's Future Investment Trust, Metro West Collaborative Development, Newtonville Square Development Partners and New Atlantic Development submitted bids by the April 25, 2013, deadline.
The highest bid was offered by New Atlantic Development at $5 million.
In February, Newton put out a Request for Proposals (RFP). In that document, the city outlined its requirements that bids feature no fewer than 18 housing units, 25 percent of which must qualify as subsidized housing; at least 5,000 gross square feet of business space; and at least 5 percent beneficial open space, especially "public outdoor gathering space."
Additionally, the RFP required that bids compensate both for the parking that will be lost at the site -- there are currently 159 parking spaces in the lot, with 121 spaces open to the general public -- as well as new parking needed for the development.
The loss of parking, as well as the additional need potentially created by the development, had Newton Patch readers concerned when the RFP was announced.
"Parking is becoming increasingly difficult throughout Newton," commented Sue Skoler. Many Newton residents would love to support our local businesses, but each village in Newton should have adequate near-by [sic] parking for their businesses."
Given that concern, we wanted to know what you think of the bids that have been submitted. Below is a quick look at the details of each bid:
Newton's Future Investment Trust
- Bid Amount: $4.5 million in municipal improvements.
- Housing Element: 34 housing units, 26.5 percent of which are affordable housing units. These would be spread over stories five down to two, with parking on the street level.
- Parking: Underground garage, supplemented by surface parking, for 205 spaces, 85 of which will be deeded to the City of Newton.
- Commercial: 8,000 square feet divided into two, single-story structures.
Metrowest Collaborative Development
- Bid Amount: $1 million
- Housing Element: 25 rental apartments, all restricted to families at or below 60 percent of the Area Median Income, and constructed within a three-story building.
- Parking: An 85-space municipal parking lot, 13 residential parking spaces and 20 parking spaces for commercial use.
- Commercial: 5,000 square feet for commercial space with preliminary plans designed to include two, 2,500-square-foot spaces.
B'Nai B'Rith Housing
- Bid Amount: $1 million
- Housing Element: 79 for-sale condominiums (70 percent priced at-market; 25 percent restricted to individuals and families earning at or below 80 percent of Area Median Income; 5 percent restricted to individuals and families earning at or below 100 percent of Area Median Income). These would be spread over five floors with commercial space on the first floor.
- Parking: Underground garage for residences and the required 85 public spaces in the garage and along Austin Street.
- Commercial: Three, street-level retail storefronts.
Austin Street Partners
- Bid Amount: $1.05 million
- Housing Element: 80 rental apartments with 20-25 of them reserved as affordable units.
- Parking: 102 street-level public spaces (the city will own 85) and 80 below ground spaces for the residential tenants and guests and retail employees.
- Commercial: 9,000 square feet of street-level retail space designed for up to 6 retail and restaurant tenants.
Newtonville Square Development Partners, LLC
- Bid Amount: $1.9 million.
- Housing Element: 80 units, with 20 being set aside as affordable, spread through three stories of a four-story building.
- Parking: Street-level public parking and below ground residential parking.
- Commercial: 6,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space will be separated into four units.
New Atlantic Development
- Bid Amount: $5 million.
- Housing Element: 98 mixed-income rental apartments contained in a four-story structure with a partial fifth floor.
- Parking: 85 total public vehicle spaces and 25 bicycle spaces (all covered); 141 private spaces comprised of 123 residential spaces, 18 retail spaces and an additional 100 covered bicycle spaces. The public parking will be at grade, while the private parking will be underground.
- Commercial: 5,037 square feet of street-level commercial space.