Salvation Army Project on Track for Proposals

A pre-permitting process could help set the stage for the development of the abandoned Salvation Army building at 440 Broadway.

The building was taken by the City after it went vacant, but the wheels are now in motion to develop a mixed-use building on the site comprised of 16 residential units and retail space.

City Manager Thomas Ambrosino presented the vision for the property to the City Council last summer. The plan calls for new construction of 16 two-bedroom units on top of the existing one-story store with an affordable housing or mixed-income approach.

To speed up the potential sale of the property, Assistant Planning Director Alex Train said the project will be coming before the City’s zoning and planning boards in the coming month to pre-permit the project and seek zoning relief. Once that is secured, the City will put a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the development of the property.

“We think this will shorten the time frame for construction and lessen the risk and cost to potential developers,” said Train.

The zoning relief is needed to build the units on the site, and to provide relief from the City’s parking regulations. Train said eight off-street parking spaces are being proposed for the Salvation Army site.

Train said the 0.5 parking spaces per unit are similar to what is being proposed for other residential developments in the downtown. He noted that the project will be close to public transportation, including the Silver Line.

The proposal will come before the ZBA at its Feb. 3 meeting before heading to the Planning Board then coming back to the ZBA in March for final approvals.

If that timeline holds, Train said the City should put the RFP out in April. The proposals will then go before a review committee.

“The award is going to be based on the proposed price as well as the content and quality of the proposal,” said Train.

The RFP presented to the City Council last summer called for a robust community process from any developer that wins the right to develop the property. The potential sale price has been pegged at around $1.34 million, the appraised value of the property in 2017.

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