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Request for Information released for Upham’s Corner Arts and Innovation District

The City wants creative and feasible ideas from potential partners for the planned Arts and Innovation District.

Mayor Martin J. Walsh and the City of Boston released a Request for Information (RFI), which seeks creative and feasible ideas from potential partners for the City’s planned Arts and Innovation District, which looks to include affordable housing, affordable commercial space, a new branch of the Boston Public Library, and an operator for the Strand Theatre. A collaboration of the Mayor’s Office of Economic Development, the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture, Department of Neighborhood Development, Boston Public Library and the Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA), along with community leaders, business owners, and residents, the Upham’s Corner Implementation Process builds on goals established by the community, outlined in both Imagine Boston 2030 (IB2030) and the Upham’s Corner Station Area Plan of the Fairmount Indigo Planning Initiative (FIPI).

“This RFI builds on our and the community’s vision to support local artists, invest in commerce, and celebrate the Fairmount Corridor as a vital part of Boston, and the Dorchester community,” said Mayor Martin J. Walsh. “This is a unique concept that will prioritize creating a thriving, Arts & Innovation District in Upham’s Corner. I look forward to potential ideas, partners, and the future of Upham’s Corner."

The Upham’s Corner Arts & Innovation District development is a unique concept requiring creativity and sustained collaboration with the community, stakeholders and the City. The City seeks to hear from qualified, potential partners and stakeholders who will prioritize (1) development to create a thriving, coherent mixed-use, mixed-income Arts & Innovation District, (2) potential partnerships with proximate property owners, and (3) a new sustainable operation for the Strand Theater that will include community arts and cultural enrichment programming.

“This community-led and city-catalyzed approach for public-private investment and partnership in Upham’s Corner provides a new template for how we can strategically and cohesively approach neighborhood economic development without displacement, as well as enhance a community’s historical, cultural, and infrastructure assets,” said John F. Barros, Chief of Economic Development. “This RFI is a critical next step, and together with the community and our partners, we invite greater density, support increased housing and commercial affordability, and seek future development in Upham’s Corner that maximizes community building and neighborhood development.”

The City and community seek to anchor the Upham’s Corner Arts and Innovation District with a new branch of the Boston Public Library, and a reimagined Strand Theater, the hundred year old, 1,400 seat theater which was originally built as a movie and vaudeville house and is presently owned and operated by the City of Boston. Recognizing that entrepreneurship and innovation come in many forms, the Arts & Innovation District will be designed as a hub of creativity to bolster collaboration among local residents, entrepreneurs, and business-owners.

"This is an exciting opportunity to allow the Strand Theatre to operate at its fullest potential, in a way that celebrates the immense talent of the surrounding Upham's Corner community, and includes high-quality, accessible programming," said Kara Elliott-Ortega, Chief of Arts and Culture. "I look forward to seeing the Strand, along with the other elements of this project, support the growth and sustainability of this Arts and Innovation District over time."

In 2017, the City of Boston released Imagine Boston 2030, its first citywide plan in more than 50 years at the Strand Theatre. IB2030 set the course for the future, guiding the City’s growth and building on our existing strengths to create a thriving city for all Bostonians. Guided by a unique partnership between the City of Boston and the Upham’s Corner community, the Upham’s Corner Implementation process began in June 2017 just as Imagine Boston 2030 was completed. The Implementation process has focused on putting IB2030 and the FIPI into action by developing key parcels in the neighborhood.

The City of Boston will use this RFI as an opportunity to inform the development concept of this project prior to the anticipated release of the Upham’s Corner Arts & Innovation District Request for Proposals.

Information Session

Those interested in learning more about the RFI are invited to attend a question-and-answer-style informational session that will be held on Monday, August 12, from 6:30-7:30 p.m. at:

The Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center
650 Dudley Street, Boston, MA 02125

Respondent details

All interested parties may download the RFI on the Neighborhood Development site. Or, you can pick up a copy of the RFI from the Mayor's Office of Arts & Culture, 1 City Hall Square Room 802, Boston MA 02201-2019. 

Completed responses may be submitted either by email to, or by mail or hand delivered to:

Mayor's Office of Arts & Culture
1 City Hall Square, Room 802
Boston MA 02201-2019
Deadline: 4 p.m., Thursday, August 22, 2019

Hand delivery hours  are Monday through Friday, from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Mailed responses must be postmarked by 4 p.m. Thursday, August 22, 2019. Please plan accordingly. Late submissions will not be accepted.

This RFI is for information and planning purposes only and shall not be construed as a solicitation or as an obligation on the part of the City to issue any competitive procurement or award a contract. The City reserves the right to modify or retract this RFI, in whole or in part, prior to the date fixed for submission of responses, by issuance of an addendum or addenda, which shall be posted on the City’s website, or to take any other action related to the RFI and any submissions as the City may deem to be in its best interest.

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