Public Input Hearing on Kneeland Street Land Redevelopment Scheduled for March 2nd

Priscilla Liguori/ WEBN-TV
By Priscilla Liguori 2/15/2016

A public input session is scheduled for Wednesday, March 2 at 6pm regarding the redevelopment of the state-owned land at 185 Kneeland Street in Downtown Boston.

Priscilla Liguori/ WEBN-TV

Priscilla Liguori/ WEBN-TV

The session will be held at the current Massachusetts Departments of Transportation District 6 Offices, which are being relocated for the new project.

Governor Charlie Baker, Mayor Marty Walsh, and MassDOT Secretary and CEO Stephanie last week announced the headquarters are being moved in order to develop new housing and economic opportunities.

“I look forward to continuing this work with the Baker Administration and members of the community in creating a vision for the development of this site,” said Walsh.

The Commonwealth is also accepting comments regarding the use of the land via email at The administrations says the parcel will likely be at least partly used for affordable housing.

The land will not be put up for bid until later this year after the Baker and Walsh Administrations get community input.

Priscilla Liguori/ WEBN-TV

Priscilla Liguori/ WEBN-TV

The land near I-93 can offer up to 2 million square feet for redevelopment. The 5.5 acres of land are surrounded by South Station, Chinatown, and the Leather District.

“We know the site can be put to better uses which will enhance the vitality of the surrounding neighborhood and spur economic growth in the adjacent business district while generating own-source revenue that MassDOT can reinvest in our transportation system,” said Pollack.

Pollack said MassDOT does not yet know where the District 6 offices will be relocated. It has not yet been determined if the land will be sold or leased.

“The site is ideal for transit-oriented redevelopment,” Pollack added.

A Veolia North America steam plant also at the site will be scaled-down and moved underground to maximize space for the new construction.

The Kneeland St location isn’t all the Baker and Walsh Administrations plan on reforming. The Governor and Mayor talked about developing state-owned land across Boston.

Priscilla Liguori/ WEBN-TV

Priscilla Liguori/ WEBN-TV

Baker made it very clear at Tuesday’s press conference that he doesn’t like seeing state assets put to waste and full of trash.

“It makes me crazy when I look out and see those parcels and see how much they could be adding to our community,” Baker said.

Other parcels the City and State are working on include property in Lower Roxbury, Jamaica Plain, and Mattapan.

“Identifying prospects to redevelop and repurpose underutilized state property to advance economic growth and affordable housing is a valuable avenue to building stronger communities and opportunities for the people of Massachusetts,” Baker said.

Walsh considers the announcement an example of how “a strong partnership between the City and State” can initiate beneficial economic development.

Priscilla Liguori/ WEBN-TV

Priscilla Liguori/ WEBN-TV

“I thank Governor Baker for his willingness to assess the inventory of State-owned land in the City of Boston and identify parcels that, if developed, could help the City achieve its long-term housing and planning goals,” said Walsh.

In the past five years, the City and State have partnered to create 1,300 units of housing (1/3 units being affordable) and almost 500,000 gross square feet of commercial space.

Tuesday’s announcement is part of the Baker-Polito Administration’s “Open for Business” Real Estate Asset Leveraging (REAL) Strategy announced last October. The strategy seeks to reform unused or underutilized properties in Massachusetts that can be redeveloped for affordable or market-rate housing and job creation. REAL Strategy also aims to minimize government expenses and maximize revenue for the Commonwealth and communities.

Walsh wants the city to build over 50,000 housing units over the next 15 years to keep up with Boston’s rapidly increasing population growth.