In a strongly worded recommendation, the Haymarket Pushcart Association (HPA) has come out firmly behind the “Blackstone Market” proposal by the Cresset Group and DeNormandie Companies for the Parcel 9 development project along the Greenway.
The members of the HPA – themselves representing nationalities and languages from all over the globe – are proud of this role they play, and are committed to doing whatever they can to preserve their ability to do so. Unlike some, we don’t want to “gentrify” the market. We feel very strongly that the proposal that exerts the least “gentrification” pressure on the Haymarket, and at the same time fits best into the City’s desire to create an enhanced “Market District” centered on the Haymarket, the Parcel 7 Public Market, and the new development on Parcel 9, is the Blackstone Market LLC proposal.
Blackstone Market is one of four competing proposals for the triangular Parcel 9 plot that abuts Haymarket and Blackstone Street. The proposal includes 50 rental housing units at North Street with three large restaurants on the second floor, a first floor market and a green roof/urban farm/agricultural center. (See Blackstone Market Presentation Video)
The HPA recommendation is somewhat at odds with the comments submitted by the Advisory Committee and Neighborhood Association letters that were less decisive, but appeared to favor a larger housing proposal by Upton + Partners. (See Parcel 9 Comment Letters Favor “Market Square” by Upton + Partners.) However, the committee and association letters did not make a firm recommendation for any proposal, but rather listed a series of pros and cons. One element that seemed universally appealing is the attractive architectural design of the Blackstone Market versus the other proposals. The following comment is from the letter by the Beacon Hill Civic Association:
This is a distinguished design, decisively superior to the other proposals in recognizing and employing the authentic character, scale and materials of the historic neighborhood. The modest footprint of the residential block permits a clear and well-proportioned distinction of the masses and protects a valued view into the district from the North End.
Although the HPA was represented on the Advisory Committee, the committee letter raised concerns about the Blackstone Market proposal including a lack of commitment for the improvement of Blackstone Street and surrounding properties that are largely owned by DeNormandie Companies.
The Advisory Committee, Beacon Hill and North End / Waterfront community letters appeared most concerned about the creation of another “Liberty Wharf” style concept with large-scale and tourist oriented restaurants. This view comes across strongly in the Advisory Committee comment letter:
Based on the recent and continuing success of Liberty Wharf, the three second-floor restaurants and associated decks outlined in this proposal would likely be successful from a commercial perspective; but there is a real question as to whether they would be as successful from a community perspective – and even whether Liberty Wharf should be the restaurant model for Parcel 9, albeit on a much smaller scale. What is clearly not desired is an extension into the Market District of the primarily tourist-oriented restaurants and retail spaces that are already well represented in Faneuil Hall Marketplace.
The HPA successfully opposed a large scale housing proposal in the last round, but appears to be more tolerant of the smaller 50-unit rental component of the Blackstone Market proposal.
The final designation is expected to be made by the property owner, Mass. Department of Transportation (MassDOT), in the coming months.