Developers Are Energized by Mayor’s District Proposal

December 15, 2011
By

After the construction of Piers Park, East Boston’s waterfront development has all but stalled. However, Mayor Thomas Menino’s speech last week before the Boston Chamber of Commerce has breathed new life into several projects along the neighborhood’s shoreline and developers are excited.

Developers of the waterfront development projects slated for East Boston are beaming with excitement over Mayor Thomas Menino’s recent speech before the Boston Chamber of Commerce.

Last week, during his annual speech at the Chamber Menino pitched his plan to establish an Eastie Waterfront Development District, allowing the City to use various tools to jumpstart development. In the speech the Mayor proposed District Improvement Financing in Eastie that would allow the city to invest up front in infrastructure and recoup the cost later through tax revenue as a way to jumpstart development on the waterfront here.

Phillip DeNormandie, whose company has 119 residential units slated at the former Hodge Boiler works site, said it was one of the best speeches he’s heard the Mayor give at the Chamber.

“I’m excited about the Mayor’s focus on East Boston because it gives us a good chance to get things off the ground,” said DeNormandie. “Usually when the Mayor makes a neighborhood a focus it makes a huge difference because everyone else will start to set their sites on the neighborhood and that will breath new life into these projects.”

DeNormandie Companies has planned high-end residential space along Eastie’s waterfront. The new building will remain in touch with its historic industrial roots, however, with such architectural details as glass-block windows and extra wide window bays.

The planned DeNormandie Wharf 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 Harbor Walk.

Chris Flemming, Project Director of Winn Development’s Clippership Wharf project behind Maverick Square said he was equally excited about the Mayor’s call to arms.

“We are very excited and really feel East Boston’s time has finally arrived,” said Flemming. “We have been very anxious to see stuff happening on the waterfront here and the Mayor’s speech arrived at a time when things are starting to progress.”
Like DeNormandie, Flemming said industry insiders and developers always look to the Mayor for a signal and the transformation of a waterfront or neighborhood usually ensues with great enthusiasm. “When that signal comes from the Mayor things start to happen pretty fast like they did in South Boston,” said Flemming. “Last week’s speech was definitely the signal a lot of developers have been waiting for.” Winn hopes to begin construction on Clippership Wharf by the second quarter of next year.

There, Winn has entered into a partnership to construct 400 waterfront rental units on the 13-acre Clippership Wharf site.

The project, and its proximity to the Maverick Square T station, Winn has planned for water transit terminals and water taxi stops in accord with Mayor Thomas Menino and the Boston Redevelopment’s 2000 East Boston Master Plan. That plan outlined a shared vision for the future of the neighborhood.

The plan also laid the groundwork for growth along Eastie’s neglected waterfront and Menino’s renewed interest in water taxi services along the Harbor.

While Roseland Property’s Joe Shea could not be reached for comment, his company’s project, the much-anticipated Portside at East Pier located next to Eastie’s famed Piers Park should also get boost from the Mayor’s speech.

Roseland plans to construct 400 condominium and 176 multifamily homes with nearly 70,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space and commercial services. Combined with incredible views of downtown Boston, a four-minute direct MBTA Blue Line access to downtown Boston, ferry service, ample parking, ambiance of the adjacent parks and marine-related activities, this Eastie development has a decade in the making.

  • Citizen

    this proposal is nothing more than a political move to win support for a casino at suffolk downs. where was this proposal two years ago when the economy was just as bad as it is now?

  • pisces

    Bring back Hodge boiler–WE need jobs not condos

  • Orient Heights guy

    I don’t think this is a pure win for Eastie. This will just make Maverick / Jeffries point in the next Charlestown- complete with the people who live there now. Do you think people living in Eastie now are going to be the ones buying those condos? They’ll make Jevelli’s in to a Olive Garden, Taco Mex in to a Taco Bell, and add a Starbucks on every corner. Then Eastie will be “improved” and lose everything that made it nice in the process

  • Anonymous

    WOW, I thought this is idea was great before other comments. I certainly see the concern now. Interesting.

  • Anonymous

    I can see both side of the issue. I personally would love to own one of those proerpties and rent it out. Nice income for sure. However, I could see alot of the Culture and community being lost if this project comes in too hard and too fast.

  • Anonymous

    However, they have been talking about this for over 7 years..and they never make a move. What else could the waterfront be used for?

  • Anthonyx26

    It will definitely have both pros and cons for Eastie.  While there will clearly be changes in and near the waterfront, I suspect there will be very few changes further back from the waterfront…the core of Eastie will remain much the same.  Just look at our neighbors across the bridge in Chelsea.  Fancy waterfront condos, but downtown Chelsea itself hasn’t changed all that much.

    The good side is that most condo dwellers will tend to be single and have good paying jobs or they’re financially self-sufficient empty nesters.  So they’ll be contributing a lot to local real estate tax revenue but taking very little back in the way of government services.  This is surely a good thing for Eastie residents.

  • Raulandrealestate

    Great points. I think you are absolutely right. In fact because of the access of the blue line, the strong homeownership, strong traditional family presence and the diversity of both class and ethnicity, I would say Eastie will be far more successfull than chelsea which only created an estate seperated from Chelsea. I think we have a much better chance of being more of a “tossed salad” than a “melting pot”and Securing identity and celebrating class diverstity. Honestly I have more fear of what will happen to Eastie without some new development than if we move forward with the “pier project.

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