Notes from Thursday, April 11, 2013, Dudley Vision Advisory Task Force (DVATF) Meeting

Chris Gordon, Dudley Square Municipal Center project consultant, started off the meeting by reporting that a draft of the request for proposals for retail tenants was ready for legal review.

Pat Brophy, Assistant Director for Operations, Capital Construction, Public Facilities Dept. reported that Dana Whiteside would not be in attendance due to his required attendance at the BRA Board meeting where he would be presenting a request for the BRA to take air rights on behalf of the project.  This would allow the project to remain in compliance with the Public Improvement Commission for certain overhangs above the sidewalk.

Mr. Brophy noted that the project’s building permit for the entire project is expected soon.  The project is currently receiving structural steel, and the first floor deck has begun taking shape.  The webcams have been repositioned recently to accommodate this phase of construction.

Workforce goal compliance efforts are continuing as new trades are being engaged.  There are preparatory meetings before the new trade crews arrive on site, so that trade contractors are reminded of the goals.

Mr. Guscott, a community member, requested that the most recent workforce compliance numbers be presented at every Dudley Vision Advisory Task Force meeting.

Recently bids for certain trade work have been received.  Some may be out for re-bid due to being higher than expected (Roofing; Misc. Metals; Masonry; Acoustical Ceiling; Flooring; Waterproofing).

The project team is continuing to coordinate with the BWSC, National Grid, NStar and other underground utilities service providers to ensure that the street excavation is kept to a minimum.

Joyce Stanley, DVATF member and Executive Director of Dudley Square Main Streets, noted that there had been a gas smell in front of her building, and she mentioned a concern that electrical capacity in Dudley Square be maintained.

Sarah Ann Shaw, DVATF member and leader of the Friends of Dudley Branch Library, noted that the design of the Dudley Station could be improved, and that it should be addressed.

Charlotte Nelson, DVATF member and Coordinator of the Career Center at Northeastern University, noted a concern about ongoing public safety, and noted that BPD presence in the Square would be helpful.

Maureen Anderson, Senior Project Manager for the Public Facilities Department noted that the Dudley Branch Library Study would be discussed at an upcoming DVATF meeting in May, and there would be a Request for Proposals for construction services at the end of May, with construction to be performed during June through August.

Jim Fitzgerald, Senior Planner for Transportation at the BRA, distributed a current outline for the upcoming parking study for the district [ link here to Dudley Sq. Parking Study Outline ].

The study will include data collection for on and off-street parking inventory, parking turnover analysis, parking demand analysis, etc.

Mr. Fitzgerald noted that the study area would include Melnea Cass Boulevard and other Dudley Square vicinities to help understand the big picture.  Maureen Anderson noted that the 60 space Blair lot extension lot is still intended for use by the Boston Public Schools for fleet vehicles and private BPS worker vehicles on school business, but not for commuters.

Chris Gordon then presented a few highlights for the procurement of retail tenants.  The Request for Proposals is still expected to be issued in September 2013.  The proposals would be due in December 2013.  By October 2014, it is expected that tenants would begin building out the store interiors.

With respect to a building manager entity, a Request for Proposals is expected to be released mid-January 2014.

Mr. Gordon noted that successful tenants would benefit from having financial stability and some experience in operating a retail business in an urban marketplace.

Maureen Anderson noted that regarding public art at the Dudley Sq. development, there is an ongoing effort to raise funds to commission an art piece for the exterior of the facility, to be located at the corner near Warren Street.

The meeting adjourned at 8:00 p.m.

The next scheduled meeting will be Thursday, April 25th, 6:00 p.m., at the Central Boston Elder Services Community Room, 2315 Washington Street, Dudley Square.

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