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BOSTON-The city’s first ever artist-focused development took a big leap from concept to reality. The board of the Boston Redevelopment Authority accepted the staff recommendation to select New Atlantic Development Corp. as the redeveloper of the Bates Arts Resource Center on Harrison Avenue in the South End.

The BRA will now publicly advertise the recommendation before the board votes to officially grant tentative designation to the selected design team. New Atlantic’s proposal involves 54 units of artist live/work space, of which 32 will be affordable.

Last May, Mayor Thomas M. Menino and the BRA issued a request for proposals seeking redevelopment of the Bates Center, which is comprised of the existing Joshua Bates Elementary School building and two adjacent parcels. The RFP, crafted with the community through a yearlong public process, is the first ever city RFP to seek exclusively the development of artist work and live/work space.

New Atlantic’s is one of two submissions the BRA received for the project. New Atlantic’s proposal seeks to create two structures of artist live/work space, known as ARTBLOCK East and ARTBLOCK West, while also refurbishing the work-only space in the existing Bates building. East, a six-story structure, will house four duplex townhouse condominiums, 28 loft-style condominiums, a 2,000 sf gallery and 31 underground parking spaces. West, a four-story structure, will house six duplex townhouse condominiums, 16 loft-style condominiums and 28 parking spaces. The work-only space in the existing building will continue to provide affordable gallery and retail space for artists.

Once the BRA Board grants tentative designation to New Atlantic as the redeveloper of the Bates Center, they will be required to file a project notification form, thus beginning the Article-80 development review process.

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