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BOSTON-City Mayor Thomas M. Menino and the Boston Redevelopment Authority issued a request for proposals seeking redevelopment of the Bates Arts Resource Center on Harrison Avenue in the South End.

The RFP, which was developed with the community through a yearlong public process, is the first ever issued by the city to seek exclusively the development of artist work and live/work space. It outlines a development concept for the old Joshua Bates Elementary School Building along with two adjacent parcels that aim to provide affordable and permanent, artist live, live/work, studio, and cultural space for the city’s arts community.

The RFP seeks new construction on parcels abutting the Bates building, with a goal to create approximately 65 units of artist live and work space with 60% of the units affordable. The plan is for the existing building to be rehabilitated and to serve as workspace for 14 artists with ground floor retail space. The RFP includes specific design guidelines, which are tailored for working artists.

To address the issue of permanent space, the live/work units will be deed restricted limiting resale to artists who have been certified by a peer review panel as, what the city terms, “serious, working artists.” Future tenants of all work and live/work space associated with the project will also be artists certified through the BRA’s Artist Space Initiative.

This RFP was released in tandem with the Department of Neighborhood Development RFP for nearby 700 Harrison Ave., which calls for approximately 100 units of conventional housing, one-third of which will be for low income residents. The RFP also seeks a mix of uses including office space/ground floor retail, parking, and the relocation of the Community Garden from the parcel abutting the Bates building. The BRA and DND are collaborating on the implementation of both RFPs and the accompanying review process, though the selection and disposition procedures will be separate.

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