Mass. Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) sent an enforcement notice to the Intercontinental Hotel at 500 Atlantic Avenue to keep its Harborwalk and lawn areas open to the public. The rare action came in response to a July 11th letter by the Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) among other persistent complaints about the privatization of the space.
— The Fort Pointer (@FortPointer) May 27, 2017
— MassDEP (@MassDEP) July 12, 2017
Under its Chapter 91, State Waterways License, the Intercontinental is required to provide 24/7 public space along the Fort Point Channel side of its property, including the walkway and lawn areas. Over the years, the hotel has incrementally cordoned off parts of the public area with planters, ropes and signs. Most blatantly, the hotel regularly rents out the space for private events, charging as much as $2,000 for four hours, according to a CLF blog post.
After receiving the CLF complaint, Mass. DEP issued an enforcement notice to Extell Boston Harbor LLC, the licensee at the Intercontinental site, to restore 24/7 public access within 30 days. The CLF further noted the inaction of the Boston Planning and Development Agency, who negotiated the original arrangement for public space when the hotel and residences were built in 2005. The CLF letter is shown in full below.