Sources close to the players trying to develop East Boston’s waterfront confirmed that Roseland Property has filed a building permit with the state to begin construction on its waterfront project.
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 has been in limbo for the better part of the last decade.
Pressure on Roseland began to mount this year after Massport’s board voted to extend its lease at Pier I. While some in Eastie questioned whether it was a wise decision to extend Roseland’s lease after the company failed to produce any waterfront development, Massport took a gamble and was energized after Mayor Thomas Menino’s December 6 speech in front of the Boston Chamber of Commerce. In that speech, Menino pledged to jumpstart waterfront development on East Boston’s shore.
However, as reported in the East Boston Times last week, little or nothing took shape over the eight months.
It was also reported that Roseland recently dumped Suffolk Construction as the contractor and hired a new contractor—the third since the project was approved. Skanska was the first victim of the Portside at East Pier I. Skanska had begun pile driving to prepare the site for development when the plug was abruptly pulled on their work. They were quickly replaced with Suffolk but the site remained idle for years with only Skanska’s pilings sticking out from the earth.
Fed up with the lack of movement on the Pier I site, Interim Massport CEO Dave Mackey, according to sources, gave Roseland an August 1 deadline to file a building permit with its new contractor.
The pressure from Mackey resulted in the pulling of a building permit last week.
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 been a decade in the making.