Home News Deal for nearly 100-acre ExxonMobil property in Everett falls through

Deal for nearly 100-acre ExxonMobil property in Everett falls through

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As with the site’s next steps, the details of why the deal fell apart are unclear. An important part of Everett’s economic renaissanceIt’s possible Exxon could negotiate a lower price with Davis, revisit other bidders, or put the property back on the market. When the deal was first signed on May 31, Everett had ceased using the facility for storage and distribution of petroleum products.

An Exxon spokeswoman declined to comment. Davis’ head of development, Michael Cantalupa, said in an email only that the company did not comment on “ongoing commercial negotiations.”

The news took Everett City Hall officials by surprise. Davis and his representatives have been busy in recent weeks making presentations about plans for the property and beginning the permitting process. It started out with a single apartment, a second building with warehousing, and a third building with advanced manufacturing. Davis envisioned adding millions more square feet of buildings over time, including apartment towers and a bio-manufacturing plant.

A deal between ExxonMobil and a major Boston developer to acquire the fuel company’s 95-acre tank farm in Everett has fallen apart. Before the deal fell through, the Davis Companies worked out preliminary plans for the property.Perkins & Will

Everett’s director of planning, Matt Lattanzi, said the site’s initial bidding round involved at least a dozen potential buyers. Ultimately, that list was narrowed down to just three: DH Property Holdings and Marcus Partners in New York, and Davis in Boston, he said. With the sale process in mind, city officials last November rezoned the long industrial site to facilitate other uses.

“There was a lot of interest in this land,” Rattanzi said. “The biggest factor was environmental remediation costs.”

The termination of the Davis-Exxon contract became public due to a lawsuit filed against Exxon by the Conservation Act Foundation in 2016. The case is still pending in Boston federal court and is overseen by U.S. District Judge Mark He Wolfe. (A trial date has not yet been set.) The CLF alleges that Exxon did not properly prepare the Everett property for extreme storms and floods caused by climate change. CLF is particularly concerned about petroleum and other chemicals in the soil and the site’s proximity to Boston Harbor.

Exxon argued in court that the lawsuit should be vacated because the company was no longer using its assets. Meanwhile, the CLF says decontamination remains Exxon’s responsibility, at least for now.

CLF President Brad Campbell said: “Any development that delays cleanup or gives ExxonMobil the option to revive the facility…is problematic.”

CLF is particularly concerned about the water treatment system that Exxon continues to maintain at the facility, Campbell said.

“Our primary concern is the risk from the facility to neighboring communities and the environment when the facility is in operation or in its current state,” Campbell said. “We will continue to fight until the facility is safe and there is no danger to the community and Boston Harbor.”

Real estate consultant Brendan Carroll says Greater Boston remains a relatively attractive market for global investors who may be looking for bargains as the economy softens. And large sites relatively close to downtown Boston, like the Exxon facility, are particularly attractive, even if they likely won’t be developed for some time. Besides environmental pollution, another big hurdle for Everett is the lack of trains and subway stations. A commuter rail line bisects the city.

“There’s still a lot of excitement around Everett,” Carroll said. “For certain reasons, most notably the lack of dedicated rail transport… This seems to be an opportunity in the late 2020s and is still exciting to see.”

Redevelopment of the Exxon site is believed to help Everett authorities’ long-term plans to revive the Lower Broadway district on Boston’s northern gateway.Craig F. Walker/Glovestaff

Redevelopment of the Exxon site is believed to help Everett authorities’ long-term plans to revive the Lower Broadway district on Boston’s northern gateway. One of the major goals is to have Encore Boston, a hospitality and entertainment complex underpinned by his Harbor Casino, open in 2019, replace the older industrial uses that once lined the boulevard.

Another key element is the recently put up for sale on the 40+ acre section of Constellation Energy’s Mystic power plant complex across from the casino on Broadway.

One potential use for the Constellation site is a new football stadium for the New England Revolution. But for that to happen, the facility would have to be removed from the designated port area. Proponents, he said in July, called for a bill to release the property by removing it from the harbor area and lifting many development restrictions related to the tidal flats. But the CLF countered, arguing that such a move should be made in a deliberated public process, not just as an additional measure to a larger bill, without discussing the merits of port exemptions.

The House added the bill to the broader economic development bill, but time ran out for a formal meeting that year before reaching a compromise on the broader bill with the Senate. It remains possible that legislative leaders will take the unusual step of holding a special formal session in the coming weeks to complete work on the bill.


Contact information for John Chest is: [email protected]follow him on twitter @John Chest.

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