After more than a year of review, state regulators have approved the city’s Downtown Waterfront Municipal Harbor Plan (MHP). City officials, led by the Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) received nearly all the flexibility they were seeking from the Mass. Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) for two new tower developments at the Harbor Garage and Hook Lobster sites. Major offsets in the MHP include a new waterfront park at the parking lot site behind the Chart House on Long Wharf plus construction indemnification for the New England Aquarium and $10 million in funding for its Blueway concept.
Despite intense opposition from neighboring residents, especially at Harbor Towers, State officials paved the way for a 600′ tower with 50% open space at the Harbor Garage site owned by the Chiofaro Company and Prudential. The approval is more than three times of the height currently allowed by the Ch. 91 waterfront standard.
The plan also consummates the private deal struck with the New England Aquarium bringing $10 million to the proposed Blueway at Central Wharf.
The State also approved building height up to 305 feet at the Hook Lobster site with 70% lot coverage. As an offset, the developer/owner will contribute $3.6 million for the planning and design of a waterfront park on Long Wharf, at the current parking lot of the Chart House. Monies would also support a new ferry / water transportation infrastructure. Separately, $300,000 for initial planning and design of the park will come from the Harbor Garage developer to city officials. Another $500,000 is to be paid for the benefit of the Fort Point neighborhood and watersheet activation.
One change at the Hook Wharf site by the State eliminates a proposed Harborwalk under the Moakley Bridge due to sea level rise concerns. Instead, sidewalk improvements are suggested on Atlantic Avenue.
The Downtown Waterfront Municipal Harbor Plan covers the area of the waterfront bordered by Christopher Columbus Park on the North (Long Wharf) and the Evelyn Moakley Bridge on the South (Hook Lobster Company site).
Next steps for the Harbor Garage and Hook Lobster developments are specific design plan submittals at which time more public meetings are expected.
The following table details the State approval in comparison to the City’s draft proposal. [Read the full approval letter.]