CAMBRIDGE — Long-awaited development of the waterfront took a step forward at the May 24 meeting of the Cambridge City Council, when commissioners voted unanimously to transfer the area known as the “Port Property” to Cambridge Waterfront Development Incorporated (CWDI).
The move came after several months of negotiations and discussions among the city, CWDI, and state government. A Request for Proposal process can now begin that will culminate with a public response period for the proposals.
The area in question includes the Sailwinds property from the Creek, along the bank of the Choptank River to the Malkus Bridge. It incorporates part of the current hospital property.
“In the coming months, the CWDI leadership, appointed by the City of Cambridge, Dorchester County, State of Maryland, and Sailwinds Park Incorporated, will engage developers to make a reality the community’s thoughts and desires, as enshrined in the Waterfront 2020 study, Cambridge R/UDAT, BCT Design Study, and other public surveys over the last three decades,” Mayor Andrew Bradshaw said in a statement online following the meeting. “Museums, public space, event space, commercial opportunities, and residential development will all coalesce to ensure Cambridge’s success over the next century.”
The transfer agreements include recently added covenants to ensure transparency as the project continues, Mr. Bradshaw said, as well as promoting diverse access to the development process.
“The City of Cambridge, our newly elected Commissioners, and I, worked tirelessly to craft an agreement that protects the interests of Cambridge and our citizens while also providing the latitude for CWDI to ensure a successful project,” Mr. Bradshaw said. “Together, the agreement we forged will ensure fair outcomes on the property, while also providing a more formal framework to guide development that will prove transformative for the region.
I’m proud of the work that was put into this by all the stakeholders, and I’m also proud to have held true on my promise to ensure transparency and engagement with Cambridge’s citizens as this redevelopment project moves ahead.”
As the plan is put together, “The public will be able to comment based on the content of the proposal,” he said, but without developers’ being identified. “We’ve reached a point where we think the safeguards have been reached.”
Once the draft master plan is finished, Mr. Bradshaw said the developers will be required to observe its specifications.
Ward 5 Commissioner Chad Malkus said the public’s desires for a working waterfront, museums, access to the water, significant open space and other components and amenities would all be integrated the CWDI’s plan. “Their real work begins now, but this is truly a turning point in the more than 25 year process for Sailwinds,” he said.
Mr. Bradshaw said developers have been angling to get into the job — he has been approached by many, he said, in recent months.
“It’s a big moment,” the mayor said. “We think this thing’s going to work.”