There is talk on the streets about a possible development at 44-46 Cross Street, according to a recent report by the Zoning, Licensing and Construction Committee of the North End / Waterfront Residents’ Association. A new project could include a portion or all of the block along Cross Street between Endicott and Salem Streets. Surveyors at the site have also piqued interest by neighbors.
After the Big Dig and subsequent creation of the Greenway, the sidewalk plaza areas were hoped to be the new “Gateway to the North End.” However, businesses have had a tough time in the location that occupies a stretch of what is mostly 1 and 2 story buildings on Cross Street between Hanover and Endicott Streets.
In 2010, city and state officials worked with the community to implement a plan eliminating traffic and day parking on the Cross St. sidewalk plaza between Hanover and Salem Streets. North of Salem Street, traffic and parking are still permitted on that part of the sidewalk plaza where J. Pace and Maria’s Pastry Shop are located.
There is also a long vacant 2-story building and parking lot near the corner of Endicott Street. It still has the old Cigars sign with garage doors on the front. This has recently been rumored as a possible site for a cafe by Legal Sea Foods or part of a larger mixed use development.
Taking a step further toward activating the sidewalk open space, Councilor Sal LaMattina continues to champion a plan that would add seating and landscaping. As part of his 2013 presentation to the Neighborhood Council, LaMattina reiterated this concept. Planning is in the very preliminary stages and it is not clear whether the new park-like amenities would be proposed for both Cross St. crescents or just the section near Hanover Street.
A new development at 44-46 Cross St. could include an expansion to 55 feet high and over the entire sidewalk plaza to the Cross Street curb, according to the Greenway District Planning Study. The study is expected to form the basis for codified zoning currently under consideration. The first public meeting on the Downtown Waterfront and Greenway District Zoning Planning Initiative is scheduled for March 13, 2013.
In addition to the potential impacts on the Cross St. open plaza area, the NEWRA ZLC Committee report notes the “potential for adversely affecting park land and park uses” as the properties abut Morton St. and Cutillo Park in the back.