SOMERVILLE TO SEEK NEW PROPOSALS FOR POWDER HOUSE SCHOOL WITH COMMUNITY INPUT

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City rejects five remaining proposals under existing RFP.
Community meeting to be held in April to determine new RFP specs.

SOMERVILLE – Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone announced today that the City of Somerville will issue a new Request for Proposals (RFP) for redevelopment of the Powder House Community School site and will schedule a community meeting later this month to discuss the terms to be included in the new RFP, after rejecting the five remaining proposals and canceling its existing RFP.

Citing new information and concerns regarding the condition of the property and a broader range of community-supported uses for the redevelopment of the former K-8 school, City officials notified developers earlier this week of the intent to re-evaluate the scope of the project. In March, the City ended negotiations with Tufts University, the developer initially ranked as the top recommendation by the Powder House Community School Technical Advisory Committee and ultimately selected by the Mayor. After the university clarified that it did not foresee developing the site for at least 15 years, negotiations were ended.
The community meeting to be held later in April will determine the next steps in the redevelopment and the terms to be included in a new RFP to be issued later this year. The date and time of that meeting will be announced as soon as it is scheduled.
“Each of the proposals submitted by development teams for this initial RFP presented both positive and negative design impacts, and each were carefully reviewed by our Advisory Committee and internal staff,” said Mayor Curtatone. “We remain committed to finding a development partner that will help us achieve the community’s vision for the site, and one that will bring the most benefit to our residents and community members. I want to thank each of the development teams for their thorough and thoughtful proposals, and I look forward to working closely with the community to re-evaluate the needs and best interests of our community.”
“A thorough and inclusive community process for any major development project is important to ensure that our plans and policies reflect the basic needs and opinions of each neighborhood, and of the community as a whole,” said Ward 7 Alderman Katjana Ballantyne. “I look forward to bringing this project back to the residents of Ward 7 and surrounding neighborhoods as we work to identify the best possible reuse for this valuable site.”
The initial RFP sought proposals that would meet a set of community objectives that were developed through a two-year community planning process. Additional criteria included the experience of the development team in developing the project and leading a community design process, the long-term economic impact of the proposal, as well as the price offered for the property. A vote by the Board of Aldermen also required that a minimum of 40 percent of the site remain publicly accessible open space.
The community meeting date will be announced in the near future. For updates, visit http://www.somervillema.gov, call 311 (617-666-3311), or follow the City on Facebook http://www.fb.com/SomervilleCity or Twitter http://www.twitter.com/SomervilleCity.

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