Because nothing is more London Boston than a ferris wheel…

The remake of City Hall Plaza took another step forward with a bid awarded to the owners of TD Garden, Delaware North / Boston Garden Development Corporation. Working with city officials, the private group will look to add new programming elements and amenities to the brick plaza.

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The winning proposal includes an iconic 200-foot high Observation Wheel, complete with gondolas. Winter would bring an ice skating path while an urban beach would be set up for the summer. A new 2-story restaurant and beer garden would be built with a liquor license that would be run by Delaware North’s Patina Restaurant Group. More concerts would be held similar to the popular Boston Calling festivals. Coffee cafe stalls, interactive art exhibits and a large photo-friendly #BOSTON sign are also planned.

Year-round activities were emphasized in statements by Mayor Walsh and Delaware North’s CEO Charlie Jacobs. “I am confident that the City of Boston has a great partner in Boston Garden Development Corporation who will help us make the best use year-round of the space we have at City Hall Plaza,” said Mayor Walsh. CEO Jacobs added, “I am proud that the Boston Garden Development Corporation has been recognized for sharing the Mayor’s vision and that we are fully committed to a significant investment that will transform City Hall Plaza into a year-round destination.  We’re looking forward to partnering with the city and exploring these proposed concepts, in collaboration with numerous local civic, arts and community organizations, to co-create and re-energize the plaza for the benefit of residents and visitors alike.”

Construction is expected to start in the Fall 2016. The City will work with the Boston Garden Development Corporation as part of a three-year contract. Private funding is expected for the project although specific sources were not disclosed other than fees on some of the Plaza activities. Renderings were released as part of the announcement by Delaware North, but no final concepts remain in flux according to city officials.

Not selected were The Anthem Group and Biederman Redevelopment Ventures. The Anthem Group proposed “Winter’s Landing” and “Summer’s Landing.” Winter’s Landing would have involved a skating rink and a large, 200 seat Polar Bar that could host dinners and events. Summer’s Landing would also have a dining option named City Bistro. Biederman, creator of Bryant Park in Manhattan, similarly proposed winter skating along with a variety of other features, including rights of way on certain parts of the Plaza.

Renderings courtesy of Boston Garden Development Corporation
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1 COMMENT

  1. Some say (as I do) that Mayor Walsh doesn’t know the definition of planning, let alone is not willing or able to commission an authentic city plan, but here’s more proof that he knows how to plan private commercial takeovers of public space. Does his plan include securing two-thirds vote of the state legislature pursuant to Article 97 of the Massachusetts Constitution to convert the use of protected public parkland? How come every neglected public space can be saved only by turning the space over to wealthy private developers and restaurateurs?

    I have hoped for three decades for improvements to City Hall Plaza. Every City Hall should have a front yard that accommodates public protest, as well as celebration. I’ll soon be able to have a Sam Adams with my protest.

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