There was a lot of ink spilled this week on the news that the YMCA has officially withdrawn from its plans to build on Parcel 6 of the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway. Of course, this is hardly a surprise since the YMCA (1) had not raised any significant money for the project, (2) previously identified the problems of building over highway ramps and (3) is the last in a string of designated Greenway builders to say “no thanks.”
After the depression of the Central Artery, the YMCA was designated to build a $70 million
community center on “Parcel 6” across from the North End Greenway parks, adjacent to Surface Road near Haymarket and the Parcel 7 Garage. Other designated tenants that have pulled out of Greenway include the Boston Museum (near Fulton/North Streets), Massachusetts Horticultural Society (Garden of Glass), and the New Center for Arts and Culture (near Rowes Wharf) have also dropped building plans over the last three years.
So, what is to happen to these empty spaces? The Globe article notes:
“Public officials acknowledged that further additions must also include significant benefits for residents of surrounding neighborhoods who were promised a YMCA and the other institutions as payback for enduring 16 years of Big Dig construction.”
A follow-up article in the Globe interviews MassDOT’s real estate director, Peter O’Conner:
“I don’t take this disappointed view many people have, especially when you remember the Central Artery,’’ O’Connor said. “There’s already been such a transformation. The basic space is just about right. I don’t feel like it’s missing big buildings.’’