The state’s Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance presented its draft project proposal for the redevelopment of the Charles F. Hurley Building during a virtual meeting on Dec. 17. Bound on three sides by Staniford, Cambridge and New Chardon streets, the Brutalist building occupies about 327,000 gross square-feet, and has an additional 241,000 square footage of unused space on a 3½-acre site. The building, which opened in 1971, and now faces an estimated $225+ million in capital renewal needs, currently provides office space for around 680 employees working in the Department of Unemployment Assistance, MassHire and several other state labor and workforce departments.
DCAMM expects to issue a Request for Proposals (RFP) early next year, said Abi Vladeck, a senior project manager with the agency, and then to designate a private redevelopment partner for the project in late ’21. . Construction is subsequently scheduled to commence in 2023, she said, and to wrap up around two years later.
The project’s goals, Vladeck said, include finding a cost-effective solution for renewing and replacing the outdated building, as well as to provide office space for the state under long-term leases, as well as to reduce the “super-block” effect through which the site was conceived to secure it from automobiles. In an effort to address neighborhood and preservation concerns, DCAMM will offer the entire site as part of the project, including the open space surrounding the abutting Erich Lindemann Mental Health Center (although no permanent structures will be allowed there, and could result in the termination of the lease).
The redevelopment project must include 200 parking spaces to replace those in the existing underground parking garage, Vladeck said, and in accordance with the RFP, the state would have first rights to lease up new office space to offset its loss of same amount of office space it now occupies in the Hurley Building. City Councilor Kenzie Bok said the site is “tremendously important to the fabric [of the neighborhood],” since it was the location of the “clearance of the historic West End” more than 60 years ago. The redevelopment project provides new opportunities for a school and more affordable housing in the neighborhood, Councilor Bok said, and could serve to break up the ‘super-block’ by “knitting it into the more bike-able, walk-able streetscape we’re creating.”
Echoing Jim Campano of the Old West End Housing Corporation, Ron Iacobucci said he hoped that priority for affordable housing would be given first to the 20,000 former West Enders who were displaced by Urban Renewal more than 60 years ago. “Something should be done for these folks,” Iacobucci said. “It’s long overdue.” Clarissa Demore of Historic New England requested that any future development there face Cambridge Street and said she “appreciates the open space consideration, but worries that if the lease can be terminated at any time, it would discourage [potential tenants].”
The public comment period for the proposed redevelopment project ended yesterday, Dec. 23. Visit the project website at https://www.mass.gov/service-details/charles-f-hurley-building-redevelopment