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First Street Garage/ 40 Thorndike Street Updates

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This web page is a central repository for information about the First Street Garage and updates on the remediation of the 40 Thorndike Street site.

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  • December 26, 2019 Update:

    DCAMM and their contractor began the dewatering process at the former Edward J. Sullivan Courthouse in East Cambridge approximately two weeks ago.  The process, as has previously been reported, was approved by both the City and the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA). The dewatering process includes; settlement, bag filtration, and ion exchange to ensure that the discharge to the municipal sewer system and the MWRA Deer Island sewerage treatment plant has been treated for potential contaminants, including asbestos (though none was detected in water samples taken) and zinc. 
    The dewatering process has been hampered by the difficulty the DCAMM contractor has had in controlling the zinc concentration in the discharge effluent and this has slowed down the speed of the dewatering.  Given that the dewatering process is primarily internal to the building, the City has authorized the contractor to operate on a twenty-four-hour basis moving forward. Once the zinc removal process has been refined, It is expected that the dewatering will then take approximately one month to complete.
  • December 3, 2019 Update:

    The MWRA and the City have issued permits to allow DCAMM to begin removing the water from the basement of the Former Edward J. Sullivan Courthouse at 40 Thorndike Street.  The water is from the sprinkler lines in the building which froze and broke on January 23, 2019, releasing water in several areas of the building, eventually flooding the basement.  The water will be treated by a mobile treatment system and then discharged to the sewer system at a sewer connection within the building.  The discharge rate will be limited to 60 gallons per minute so as not to impact the capacity of our sewer system.  The treatment system and the discharge to the sewer system will be located on the courthouse property.  The water in the basement was sampled to characterize the discharge and design the treatment facility.  No asbestos was identified in the water, however, since there are known Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM) in the building, the treatment plan assumes the potential presence of asbestos fibers in the water and spent bag filters will be disposed of as ACM Waste.   Zinc was detected at 2.97 milligrams per liter (mg/L), which is above MWRA’s 1.0 mg/L discharge standard.  The treatment system includes an ion exchange resin vessel to remove the zinc to below the MWRA discharge standard.

    DCAMM anticipates beginning the dewatering this week and expects it to continue for 3 to 4 weeks.

  • Memo from Jeffery B. Dill, Director of Property Operations, DCAMM (September 17, 2019) and PCM Air Sample Results 40 Thorndike St. Cambridge
  • Agenda materials for September 18, 2019 City Council Hearing.
  • Memo from City Manager to DCAMM Commissioner, September 11, 2019; DCAMM response letter, September 13, 2019
  • Memo from Acting Fire Chief to DEP Commissioner, September 11, 2019; DEP response letter, September 13, 2019
  • Agenda materials for September 9, 2019 City Council Hearing: 
  • View recording of August 13, 2019 Planning Board hearing.
  • Memo from Acting Fire Chief regarding the condition of the Sullivan Courthouse and conducting a safety check on the building.
  • Memo from DCAMM to City Manager regarding Edward J. Sullivan Courthouse (dated July 23, 2019)
  • City Council Hearing: September 9, 2019 at 6:30 p.m., at Cambridge City Hall
  • Planning Board Hearing: August 13, 2019 at 6:30 p.m., at 344 Broadway
  • View the City Manager's Cover Letter for the Disposition Report pursuant to Chapter 2.110 of the Cambridge Municipal Code
  • View the City Manager’s Disposition Report pursuant to Chapter 2.110 of the Cambridge Municipal Code
  • City Council Hearing: July 29, 2019 at 6:30 p.m., at Cambridge City Hall (This hearing is rescheduled for September 9.).
  • Planning Board Hearing: July 16, 2019 at 6:30 p.m., at 344 Broadway (cancelled due to an unexpected lack of a quorum of the Planning Board. The hearing will be rescheduled.)
  • We held a Community Meeting about the results of the First Street Area Parking Planning Study on Wednesday, June 19, 2019 at the Kennedy-Longfellow School from 6:30 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. You can view a PDF of the presentation.
  • Download the First Street Area Parking Planning Study Report Summary or the First Street Area Parking Planning Study Final Report (Updated on June 27, 2019 to clarify the weekday data collection dates as February 13 and February 26, 2019 in Report Appendix B).
  • A Community Meeting will be held on Wednesday, June 19, 2019 at the Kennedy-Longfellow School (Auditorium) from 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Download meeting flyer.
  • We held a Community Open House about the First Street Area Parking Planning Study on Tuesday, March 26, 2019 at the Kennedy-Longfellow School from 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. You can view PDFs of the:
  • Status Update to City Council 11-20-18
  • Received Proposal from LMP GP Holdings LLC dated 11-19-18 for RFP8268 First St. Garage Disposition
  • Project Timetable Handout at Community Meeting of 10-30-18
  • Initial Community Meeting was held on 10-30-18 Seeking Public Input on what ground floor retail uses would be best for the immediate neighborhood and surrounding community.
  • Status Update to City Council 10-29-18

The First Street Garage has approximately 1,100 parking spaces and the City proposed disposition of a leasehold interest in 420 unassigned parking spaces and approximately 9,000 square feet of ground floor area intended for retail use in the City-owned First Street Garage property located at 55 First Street. The garage will continue to be used as a municipal parking facility, subject to the proposed new lease for parking and renovated first floor retail space.

  • See RFP 8268

     Real Estate Disposition: Parking Spaces and Ground Floor Retail Space - First Street Garage

    advertised on 10-18-18 and due 11-19-18; 
  • See Addendum1 to RFP8268

Below is an overview of the proposed First Street Garage Disposition process in compliance with State Law (G.L. Chapter 30B) and Municipal Ordinance (Chapter 2.110 of the Cambridge Municipal Code) in order to dispose of this property, and projected timetable.

Process for the RFP Under G. L. Chapter 30B

Components of the 30B process that were required before the RFP could be advertised:

  • The statute required the City Council to declare the property available for disposition and declare any reuse restrictions (completed)
  • The City had to determine the value of the property using methods considered valid by the appraising profession (completed)
  • An RFP was advertised on October 18, 2018 pursuant to the provisions of Chapter 30B. 
  • Bids were open on November 19, 2018. Under the terms of the RFP, an offeror’s proposal will remain in effect: for 180 calendar days from the deadline for submission of proposals (i.e. 180 days from November 19, 2018, which was amended from 120 days in the original RFP), or until  a proposal is formally withdrawn, or a contract (lease or memorandum of agreement) is executed or the RFP is cancelled, whichever occurs first.
  • If a bid is awarded to a successful offeror, a conditional lease or memorandum will be executed between the City and the successful offeror, which will also be subject to the City’s compliance with the provisions of the City’s disposition ordinance, Chapter 2.110 of the Municipal Code.  

Process Under the City’s Disposition Ordinance, Chapter 2.110 of the Cambridge Municipal Code

  • Under Chapter 2.110 of the Cambridge Municipal Code, the City Manager must hold a community meeting, which was held on October 30, 2018 at the Cambridge Multicultural Arts Center in East Cambridge.  Please note, a second community meeting will be held.
  • The City Manager must issue a detailed report regarding the proposed disposition to the City Council, the Planning Board, and the City Clerk for public dissemination. We anticipate that the report will be completed by spring 2019.
  • The Planning Board must hold a public hearing no sooner than two weeks or more after receiving the report and must submit recommendation to the City Manager for submission to the City Council.
  • Thereafter, the City Council must hold a public hearing before the final disposition is approved by the City Council. The disposition requires a two-thirds vote of the City Council.

For general questions and comments regarding the disposition of the 420 parking spaces and the 9,000 square feet of ground floor retail space, email citymanager@cambridgema.gov.

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Page was last modified on 7/25/2023 4:04 AM
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