The State, through its MassDOT transportation agency, is currently considering two final proposals for designation at Parcel 9 along the Greenway near Haymarket.

  • Blackstone Market (Cresset Group & DeNormandie Cos.) – 70 rental housing units, 9 stories high, at North Street with up to 3 restaurants on second floor, community room, a first floor retail market and a green roof. Designed by Utile Inc. Blackstone Market Proposal Addendum 3 (large pdf)
  • Haymarket Square (Normandy Partners & Jones Lang LaSalle) – 180-room hotel, 8 stories high, with a public winter garden, market hall, retail space, pushcart operation space, community room and restaurant. Designed by Perkins + Hill. Haymarket Square Hotel Proposal Addendum 3 (large pdf)

The Boston Globe printed a view by columnist Paul McMorrow on May 14, 2013 strongly in favor of a Blackstone Market, touting its Liberty Wharf-like restaurant attributes. He says that opposition by some North Enders is “out of line.”

Liberty Wharf has diners flocking to the Seaport, and large-scale redevelopment efforts chasing close behind. It’s an unquestioned success story. And in this success, a group of North End neighbors see a future to fear, and oppose.  The developer behind Liberty Wharf is trying to drop a similar project along the Rose Kennedy Greenway in Boston, on a small, triangular sliver of land called Parcel 9. Efforts by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation to unload the parcel now center around the question of making the Greenway look more like the Seaport — a magnet for residents and visitors alike, and ripe for follow-on development efforts. This being Boston, there’s vocal opposition to those selling points.

Other supporters of Blackstone Market include all but one of the members of the joint Parcel 7 & 9 Advisory Committee that submitted an exhaustive 15-page letter. (Read full Advisory Committee letter here in pdf form).

Opposing the Liberty Wharf restaurant concept at Parcel 9 to instead support the Haymarket Square Hotel is one member of the Advisory Committee. Victor Brogna, 20-year resident and current Vice-President of the North End / Waterfront Residents’ Association, submitted his own comment letter, disagreeing with the Advisory Committee’s assessment, particularly on the restaurant issue:

The entire upper floor of the two-story market hall under the Blackstone Market’s proposal would be devoted to restaurants. At the public meeting on March 20, 2013, we learned that the restaurants would contain 400 to 500 seats. In my earlier letter I explained in detail the negative impacts which would inevitably occur to the North End/Waterfront neighborhood from the influx of tourists which a restaurant destination of such size would produce. My earlier letter is on file with MassDOT and there is no need for me to repeat here what was said. I add to those words the advice contained in the January 2009 Boston Market District Feasibility Study produced for the BRA by Project for Public Spaces (PPS), where it was stated on page 13:

“While tourists would expect to be drawn to a public market, they can also have a destructive impact. Pike Place Market [in Seattle] is so clogged with tourists that many locals avoid the market, and the number of farmers has declined significantly.”

…. Therefore, on the relevant aspects of the restaurant issue as described above, the Blackstone Market proposal exhibits substantial weakness and the Haymarket Hotel proposal exhibits substantial strength.

Read Victor Brogna’s full letter here (pdf)

There are plenty more comment letters split between the two proposals and include a gambit of interested parties. You can read them all at this pdf link.

Interestingly, Mr. Brogna is joined in his opposition to the Blackstone Market proposal by Jerry Riccio, owner of several longtime North End cafes and restaurants including Caffe Vittoria and Gennaro’s 5 North Square.

As for the North End’s elected officials, they wrote a joint letter of support for the Blackstone Market. The letter included State Senator Anthony Petruccelli, State Representative Aaron Michlewitz and City Councilor Salvatore LaMattina.

A list of supporters for each project is as follows (not including postcards):

In Favor of Blackstone Market:

  • Parcels 7 & 9 Advisory Committee (with the exception of member Victor Brogna)
  • State Senator Anthony Petruccelli, State Representative Aaron Michlewitz and City Councilor Salvatore LaMattina
  • Haymarket Pushcart Association
  • Walter “Budge” Upton, Upton + Partners
  • Dillon Vassallo, North End resident
  • Steven Castraberti, Prince Pizza
  • Doreen Merola, North End resident
  • Kara Crow, North End resident
  • Jim Borys
  • Deborah Trainor

In Favor of Haymarket Square Hotel:

  • Victor Brogna, Member of the Parcels 7 & 9 Advisory Committee and NEWRA Vice-President
  • Jerry Riccio, Caffe Vittoria, Stanza dei Sigari, Florentine Cafe, Gennaro’s 5 North Square Restaurant and Downtown Realty Professionals LLC
  • Paul Ballantine, North End resident
  • Patricia and Armand Thiboutot, North End residents
  • Elizabeth Ryan, North End resident
  • Kate Sciacca, North End resident
  • Barbara Cusack, North End resident
  • Local 103 (Electrical Workers Union)
  • Robert Caparella, 213 Hanover St. owner
  • Susannah Ross, North End resident
  • United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America
  • Adam Travel Services, 120 Blackstone Street
  • Stephanie Hogue, North End resident
  • Unite Here! Local 26

See the final video presentations by both developers here.

The comment period has now expired. MassDOT is expected to make a final designation shortly, but has not committed to a decision date.

Parcel 9 View from North End (Photo by Matt Conti)
Current Parcel 9 View from North End (Photo by Matt Conti)
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

20 COMMENTS

  1. The talented developer – Cresset Development/DeNormandie, hopefully now in the lead for creating a new jewel for Parcel 9 – is NOT trying to ‘drop’ a Seaport clone onto the ‘sliver of land’, nor is the BRA ‘trying to unload’ the spot along the Rose Kennedy Greenway, as described in a Globe story by Paul McMorrow, Tuesday, 5/14/13; “North Enders out of line on Parcel 9”. Though it is time to ‘move along people, NOTHING TO SEE HERE (yet)! The rhetoric, or choice of words is unfortunate; misrepresentative of what has truly happened with the vaunted ‘glorious Greenway’ and the deterioration of its concrete slab of a less than creative nor sustainable parking garage roof. If one were to believe the extraordinarily well-paid RKG 1099 PR ‘handlers’ the place would appear another Monet Gardens. Even the unsubstantiated growth in pedestrian use of these ‘median-parks’ is more a reflected (read mirrored) redundant count of visitors and tourists dashing across intersections with mismatched lights in avoidance of injury and serious harm. THIS ‘park’ is still the orphan run by a dysfunctional parochial patronnage ladened management group cutting it’s grass while ‘planting’ a few Food Trucks here and there, decorating same with requisite faux window boxes. It’s a median strip NOW with an overbuilt $3.5 million dollar Carousel (commercialized by Tiffany’s), a Harbor Islands information booth costing $6 million+ with zero curb appeal nor interactive harbor mapping and information. Management salaries for thirty (30) employees pushing $2.3 million annually; (costing $100 per MBTA transit rider, taxpayer-fundees) for a Department of Transportation (DOT) concrete transit bunker below. But, I digress. Now back to the ‘jewelry-box’ for Parcel 9; get it done, and with the maximum of peopled perspiring to participate! Boston is a welcoming, fun, vibrant city that should have an abundance of ‘town-centers’ celebrating our good fortune to have a HarborWalk along a real ocean with a real Harbor. This City of Boston, BostonStrong should move its agenda, tell its history and share the iterative narrative with the world’s visitors, as many as possible, NOW! Certainly before the rats from the Haymarket pushcarts eat their way into the nearby proposed ‘Farmers Market’ (Parcel 7), or the 25 member-Mayoralty-field swamps us all with colloquilisms. It’s not so much that ‘North Enders are out of line on Parcel 9’ they have many reasons to be wary. But a 70-room hotel stamps Parcel 9 with the cloistered provincialism that continues to smother Boston with the wannabe-attaboy award on the world stage. The concrete bunkered slab of the Greenway median-strip has pre-staged that. Now, move along people; there’s nothing to see here YET…

    • Ken, why is practically every response to anything even remotely related to the Greenway always criticizing it? Did you get dumped by one of it’s staff or board members? It’s very hard to get to the point of your posts when it feels like I’m just reading a scorned ex-lover’s biased opinion. To quote a line from a movie, “You gotta stop talking about it. It’s like ‘the Sopranos.’ It’s *over*. Find a new show.” The crux of this article was Blackstone vs. Hotel yet you blast the Greenway thereby distracting from your point–if you even had one. Do you even live in the North End or remotely near the Greenway?

  2. I think there is a legitimate concern from Hanover/Salem restauranteurs that some destination restaurants at the BLACKSTONE proposal will damage their profits. But these individuals should assess their own business to see what they have done to remain competitive in 2013 and beyond. Many Hanover restaurants have not done anything to remodel, renovate, offer new menu items, or make any other change in many years. The reliance on floods of tourist dollars will no longer work in the New North End. Tourists will visit other locations and spend money where it is nice, new, and modern. Look at the Seaport, look at the South End. Nice, new, and modern doesn’t mean we lose our wonderful character – it means it’s time to spruce it up or risk a failed business. Old-time, dark, dingy, and uninviting restaurants will fail – this is a casualty of the times changing and some old-school North Enders refusing to modernize.

    One case study is the Thinking Cup. Despite being surrounded by establishments that serve take-out coffee and pastries, the Thinking Cup is thriving. Why is that? They offer excellent product in an inviting atmosphere. There isn’t a woman next a chalkboard begging people to come in and eat, for example. There isn’t a group of leering men sitting in the front of the establishment cat-calling to women as they walk by.

    I think that Bread + Butter will do quite well at the top of Salem Street. Modern decor, superior products, all without losing some of the North End charm.

      • I frequent both the Thinking Cup and Boston Common Coffee and I am a native North Ender who I guess does quite well in spite of himself!

        I also enjoy the coffee at My Cousin’s Place and the new Cobblestone Cafe. If the coffee is good, I will buy it.

      • bl – let me guess, you are one of those guys that stands around on hanover street all day long doing absolutely nothing.

        • Are you serious? Yuppies, as you call them, are not the only ones to frequent those coffee shops- get a grip.I see many “natives” as I, too, go for my coffee. Anyway, what have you got against yuppies?????

      • I notice it’s generally not the yuppies out on Hanover at 2am yelling bloody murder every Friday and Saturday night. More often than not it’s the Italophiles. As a recent transplant, ask me what’s killing the neighborhood – the people who like a different coffee shop, or the people yelling loud enough to cut through my earplugs. For people who seem so excited to claim they’re “Boston Strong,” they sure are eager to punish the people who actually live here.

          • tell me, how many times have cops been urinated onto from rooftops? that argument became stale six months ago. i agree once is too many times, but let’s be real – it’s not an epidemic in the north end.

  3. Truth … If bl does hang on Hanover St…what difference dies it make? Not your business and it makes no difference. He (or she) is entitled to his(her) opinion. Contrary what you believe …what you say is not the truth. Simply your opinion like everyone elses. Change your name to bully and you might actually speak the truth for the first time.

    • i’ll keep my name, thanks. also, apparently people like what i have to say becuas i have six thumbs up and you have ZERO all while BL has 5 thumbs down!!

          • “Truth” is the poster child for everything people dislike about the yuppies. This not junior high where you were probably one of the kids picked on by the schools bullies and now you are an online wannabe bully. Give it a rest before you get an old school rise out of a young North Ender that you might not appreciate.

            • me an online bully? i don’t think so. you are the one threatening “old school rise” which i am assuming refers to violent acts. give me a break.

  4. What about the height restrictions on this parcel? Is it part of the North End? Why is most of the North End under 50 feet????

    • The BRA zoning regulations for the North End restrict building heights to 55 ft. The BRA has different zoning regulations for the Greenway ( not sure what they are ) but I believe that Cross St remains at 55 ft.

Comments are closed.