NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

May 2, 2013

MBTA to try again to sell land near train station

STAFF REPORTS
Newburyport Daily News

---- — NEWBURYPORT — The Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority is still trying to sell land near the train station off Boston Way, and state officials will host a pre-bid meeting Thursday, May 16, for developers who might be interested.

The session will be held at 77 Franklin St. in Boston, in the offices of Transit Realty Advisors, the organization’s transit division.

The MBTA owns about 11.1 acres on Boston Way, near the station.

It has held such sessions before, but no buyers stepped forward in July, when the starting figure was $1.5 million.

Though the land is controlled by the MBTA, the city has an interest in the outcome.

Municipal leaders have been studying this area of the city for more than a decade and want it to emerge as part of a Smart Growth Zoning Overlay District with multiple uses including commercial and residential.

If housing units are constructed there, city officials say they would like to have some units in the “affordable” range.

The city is attempting to reach 10 percent, a figure that state officials encourage and that would help the city in future bids for state funding of various community projects.

Only about 7.8 percent of the city’s housing stock is “affordable.”

Five separate parcels on Boston Way are for sale, but only about 5.2 acres of the total can be developed due to wetlands issues, state officials say.

Several structures in the vicinity would not be part of a purchase price.

One is a building off Boston Road that currently houses an emergency-medical service company.

Another is a large empty “train station” in a parking lot off Boston Way.