Foundry Building Update


7/25/2014

Exterior View of the Foundry Building

As part of the Predevelopment Phase for the Foundry Project, the City and the Cambridge Redevelopment Authority (“ the CRA”) are continuing to conduct community outreach, to develop the mission and program for the building, and research on development and finance options as well as continuing to explore collaboration with the CRA on these issues.

Outreach and Research Update

A community workshop was held on June 24, 2014 to generate ideas regarding the building mission by testing program concepts (see attached documentation of the June 24 Foundry workshop).  To guide the planning and redevelopment of the Foundry, research was conducted and presented at the community workshop that summarized similar and complementary programs contemplated for the Foundry, including makerspaces, arts programming, and early education programs.  Research into comparable projects, both locally and nationally, has provided sample mission statements and insights into building development, operations, and process.

In addition, the Foundry was discussed at the CRA Board meeting on July 23, 2014, which was open to the public. 

Building Mission Update

The June 24  meeting complements previous community outreach  in this evolving process to build a body of ideas about the vision, objectives, and potential programs for the Foundry; these are summarized below.

Vision/Concept

The Foundry is a facility that is:

  • Innovative
  • Multipurpose and flexible
  • Multigenerational
  • Multicultural
  • Accessible, inclusive, and welcoming to the public
  • Citywide and neighborhood resource
  • Financially sustainable

Objectives

Redevelopment of the Foundry will achieve this vision by:

Innovative Programs

  • Fostering a center of creativity and innovation through the shared use of space populated with complementary uses.
  • Creating mentorship, internship, apprenticeship, workforce training, and educational programs for Cambridge residents that can directly benefit and engage the surrounding community, particularly youth.
  • Including significant training opportunities in the fields of science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM) that can effectively introduce and prepare Cambridge residents for the existing and growing professional fields that have emerged in Kendall Square over the past several years.
  • Capitalizing on the commercial success of Kendall Square’s redevelopment to create a unique collaborative environment with a diverse mix of cultural, educational, and commercial uses emphasizing youth and STEAM uses, with a particular focus on under-represented, lower income households. 

    Physical Assets

  • Creating physical assets (new or renovated structures and facilities) that will support viable economic activity and promote business growth and job creation within the Foundry in the years to come.
  • Bringing the Foundry Building into productive use for the community and to prevent the property from falling into disrepair.

    Operational Oversight

  • Leveraging multiple funding sources to provide a financially sustainable building operation, that includes making space available for community, cultural, and educational functions.
  • Maximizing the extent of public and community uses of the building and providing a structure for ongoing management and oversight of those uses. 

Financial Feasibility

  • Piloting and reporting techniques for the adaptive reuse of an industrial building into a center of innovation and creativity, utilizing public private partnership both as a financing tool and a model of collaborative economic and cultural development.

Viable Uses

Building on community input, uses that can accomplish these objectives include the following (in alphabetical order); many could be programs that are mixed, synergistic, or operating in shared spaces. Given the space constraints, it is unlikely that all of these uses can be adequately accommodated at one time.

 

  • Arts and performing arts studio space
  • Cafe
  • Community education or job training centers
  • Community kitchen and food preparation space
  • Early childhood education/day care use
  • Family-based commercial recreation
  • Gallery, museum, library
  • Offices for small companies, start-ups, or private  enterprises
  • Parking
  • Performance space (such as a black box theater) and gathering space
  • Shared office space and office space for non-profit organizations
  • Start-up manufacturing, fabrication (“maker”) space
  • Shared office space and office space for non-profit organizations
  • Youth programming

 

With ongoing feedback and input, these preliminary concepts and themes can be refined into a building mission and goals that will become the basis for a redevelopment Request for Proposals (RFP). 

Development, Finance, and Governance Strategies

The City and CRA are exploring and testing the implications of different development options which look comprehensively at the interrelationship of program (tenant types), the development entity, the operating entity, and the sources and uses of funds in both the redevelopment and operational phases.   The CRA has engaged HR&A, a real estate advisory firm, to test different financial implications of the development models, which will help inform a potential RFP for redeveloping and leasing the building and the criteria for evaluating proposals.

 

The City and the CRA have been researching the use of a possible Demonstration Project, which would allow the CRA to utilize the tools available to urban redevelopment agencies as described in M.G.L. Chapter 121B.  An informational meeting with the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development (“DHCD”) was held in mid-June and the DHCD was supportive of the preliminary approach.  Options are being explored to set up the necessary governing body(s) and transactional structure, in order to consider and protect the long-term financial interests of both the City and the CRA, as well as provide oversight that ensures the mission and criteria set forth in any lease agreements continue to be realized throughout the term of any such lease.

Next Steps

The City Manager’s office will continue working with staff from the Law Department, Finance Department, Assessing Department, Community Development Department, and the CRA to explore governance and development models to implement the project.  As a follow up to the June 24 community meeting, the City and the CRA will be conducting outreach to youth groups through the Department of Human Service Programs. We anticipate another community meeting in the fall to further develop the building mission and objectives.

During the summer the City and the CRA will continue to explore development options, reviewing the work of the CRA’s real estate advisors who are currently modeling the financial implications of different scenarios, and discussing the possible governance structures.  These findings will be discussed with the community at the fall meeting.

The schedule for subsequent phases remains as follows:

  • Transaction Phase (Fall 2014 – Spring 2015)
  • Redevelopment Phase (2015-2016)
  • Operational Phase (2016 forward)

 Visit the Foundry Project page for additional information or documentation.

 

 

 

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