The Massachusetts Port Authority Board of Directors Thursday awarded a contract for the construction of a major facility near Hartwell Road to a limited liability company that was organized less than seven months ago.
The board chose North Airfield Ventures, LLC, based in Norwood, for the project on up to 29 acres across from The Edge Sports Center on Hartwell Road, continuing behind the Werfen facilities. There were two other proposals.
Plans to mitigate impact on its surroundings, including wetlands and the “community,” were instrumental in the selection, the board said.
No timetable for the project was provided. The board “authorized staff to negotiate a term sheet for a development agreement and a ground lease. Upon completion of negotiations, staff will go back to the board to execute and deliver a development agreement and a ground lease with North Airfield Ventures.”
Jennifer Mehigan, Massport’s media relations director, wrote in an email Friday, “The details of the bid would not be public information, as now we are starting negotiations with them.”
Mehigan wrote in response to a question that the new facility is not considered a fixed-base operator. The original request for proposals defined the project as “aviation compatible,” and “it just means the development will be focused on aviation,” she said.
The original request for proposals was issued on Aug. 31, 2021 – almost two months before the winning bidder was incorporated as an LLC on Nov. 29.
The request lists permitted uses as including “the selling of fuel to aeronautic public, storage, servicing, maintenance of aviation aircraft, general office use for aviation-related communications, operations, support, training, and administrative functions, and tenant employee areas.”
At the Massport Board meeting, several community considerations were enumerated and were factors in the selection:
- “Established relationship in good standing with local community.”
- “Development is planned to minimize visual and noise impacts and avoid disruptions to surrounding wetlands.”
- “Site design allows for maximum buffer to surrounding community.”
- “Exploring the potential to incorporate a ‘living history’ museum into proposed development.”
The board also noted that “diversity, equity, and inclusion commitments for both the construction and operation of the facility exceeded other proposals.”
“There will be plenty more community engagement as it gets going,” Mehigan wrote Friday in an email.
There were also environmental considerations:
- “Committed to achieving LEED Gold Certification, or better, for the future North Airfield Development”
- “Incorporates climate impact reduction measures including enhanced electrical infrastructure for electric vehicles and sustainable airfield fuel to end-users”
The port authority’s initial plan to develop the space it has named North Airfield was in January 2017 when it was decided to issue a request for proposals “for new corporate hangar opportunities.”
The request wasn’t released until February 2018. But the only realization was a contract for the construction of some small so-called T-hangars, replacing older structures that were replaced by the expansion of Rectrix, on the Concord end of the runway.
In the August 2021 document, it is noted that if the developer doesn’t use all 29 acres, “the authority may determine the development location within the North Airfield area in order to preserve optimal future development.”
Massport says Hanscom Field, as “the region’s premier full-service general aviation airport,” plays “a critical role in the regional aviation system as an FAA-designated general aviation reliever for Logan Airport. Massport’s long-term strategy for Hanscom Field is to facilitate developments compatible with Hanscom Field’s aviation mission, and enhance revenue generation.”
Mike Rosenberg can be reached at email@example.com, or 781-983-1763