While most waterfront development in East Boston has sat idle since the housing market crashed three years ago, one developer is extending an olive branch to the community and making something happen on his waterfront parcel where nothing has happened for a while.
Philip DeNormandie, of the DeNormandie Companies, which owns the Hodge Boiler Works parcel on Sumner Street has decided to construct a harborwalk on his property for the community to use until his waterfront development plan takes off.
“Basically our project is not moving forward so we figured we would connect LoPresti Park on the right with the completed Carlton’s Wharf site on the left with a harborwalk so the community can have access to the waterfront on a temporary basis until our project is ready to move forward.”
DeNormandie said everyone on his team felt it made sense to allow for public access to the site instead of leaving it as a barren strip of waterfront property that is fenced off with no community access.
“It’s frustrating because we want to be able to move forward and build but it is a strange and difficult time but we are working hard to get waterfront development in East Boston accomplished,” said DeNormandie. “But in the meantime we thought this would be a good solution.”
The planned DeNormandie Wharf at the Hodge Boiler Works site will be eight stories and have 119 apartments and a small bed and breakfast overlooking Boston Harbor. The apartments will be studios, one bedroom, two bedroom, and penthouse level duplexes. The property will also include a waterfront café, a marina, a marina services building, and a water taxi stop. Additionally, there will be a public plaza incorporated into the city’s Harborwalk.
The Hodge Boiler Works came into business in 1865 when the shipping industry began to convert from clipper ships to steam ships. During this transition, Hodge Boiler Works produced steam engines for the old clipper ships and for the new steam ships, including the engine used to power Humphrey Bogart’s famous boat in the film The African Queen.
The Boiler Works was in business until the turn of the century.
The DeNormandie Companies purchased the property out of foreclosure and razed the old building.
Now, DeNormandie is anxious to get shovels in the ground so Eastie will be the next hot spot in the city.
“I have no doubts waterfront development will happen in East Boston,” said DeNormandie. “I can’t say when right now but we are a lot closer today than we were 10 years ago and once it starts waterfront development in East Boston won’t stop.”