City Councilor LaMattina has pointed to waterfront development in Eastie at Portside at Pier One and the future ferry that will shuttle residents from the neighborhood to points in Charlestown and South Boston’s Innovation District as huge game changers for the neighborhood.
“There is huge potential to really make our harbor the crowning jewel of the city,” he said. “I want to see good development on this side of the harbor. I want to see good restaurants, shops and other amenities that will compliment the ferry service and draw people to our neighborhood as well as other neighborhoods along the waterfront.”
LaMattina, now chair of the council’s economic development committee is planning a hearing to explore tax incentives to jumpstart more waterfront development in Eastie, Charlestown, the North End and even Dorchester and South Boston.
“Several cities including Baltimore, San Francisco and New York have revitalized their waterfront areas into robust business and tourist districts,” said LaMattina. “The rejuvenation and repurposing of Boston’s waterfront properties has developed not one district, but an entire “harbor-neighborhood” that links the waterfront areas of East Boston, Charlestown, the North End, the Wharf District, South Boston and Dorchester.”
LaMattina said investments is underway to connect these harbor neighborhood links through ferry and increased water taxi docks that will not only benefit tourists, but can also benefit neighborhood residents who will enjoy improved access to grocery stores, hardware stores, dental and health care providers, restaurants, museums, entertainment, and other amenities in their new harbor-neighborhood.
However, despite being a neighborhood formed of five islands and surrounded by water, Eastie currently has only one water taxi dock serving the airport, which is located well outside of the business and residential areas.
“Several waterfront development projects in East Boston have stalled and little effort has been focused on encouraging existing businesses to make water connections, leaving this ideally positioned neighborhood isolated from the water that surrounds it and from connecting to this emerging harbor-neighborhood,” said LaMattina. “The City of Boston has often successfully used tax breaks to incentives investment in underperforming or economically challenged areas and neighborhoods to focus development, resulting in significant reinvestment in the community. Successful development of the East Boston waterfront represents a compounded benefit for the City through its direct impact on overall harbor plan and the neighborhoods of Charlestown, the North End, the Wharf District, South Boston and Dorchester.”
LaMattina is calling on the Boston City Council to hold a hearing to investigate what tax incentives and other programs are available to encourage waterfront development and accelerate the momentum and success of the overall harbor plan.