Save Boston’s Waterfront, an effort supported by the New England Aquarium, presented their opposition to the Chiofaro Company’s Pinnacle project during the monthly North End/ Waterfront Residents’ Association (NEWRA) meeting.
Surrounded by controversy, the Chiofaro Company has proposed a project called the Pinnacle at Central Wharf as an effort to redevelop the current Harbor Garage building. The developers promise an accessible, activated, and climate-resilient project.
Rob Caridad, project manager for Chiofaro, outlined the developers’ goal of “seamless integration” with the New England Aquarium’s Blueway vision to connect the Harbor with the Greenway through providing open space for pedestrians and reimagining the vehicle circulation off of Atlantic Avenue.
However, Save Boston’s Waterfront argues that the proposed project doesn’t adequately reflect the neighborhood’s vision of a “waterfront for all”. The group believes that the Harbor Garage redevelopment proposal fails to meet that which it promises to provide —accessibility, inclusivity, and climate resiliency.
Rick Musiol Jr., Vice President and External Affairs for the New England Aquarium, voiced opposition of the project’s large-scale efforts for the site. He believes the project’s approach is largely inequitable and will create an unwelcoming environment much like what is seen in the Seaport District.
“This is the wrong project at the wrong site and certainly at the wrong time,” stated Musiol Jr.
According to Save Boston’s Waterfront, the Chiofaro Company’s designs intend to “elevate and isolate” the Harbor Garage site, leaving neighboring properties at-risk in terms of climate resiliency.
Tom McShane, principal at the Dewey Square Group, weighed in on the conversation to urge that the project’s next steps focus on establishing Design and Use Standards. Currently, next steps involve an Impact Advisory Group (IAG) meeting and a comment period which ends on October 2nd.
The Design and Use Standards, as defined by McShane, would involve a community process in which the public’s needs and plans for the site are prioritized.
NEWRA members voted in support of a drafted letter, read by member David Kubiak, to the Massachusetts Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs in response to the Chiofaro Company’s Environment Notification Form (ENF).
The letter outlined several concerns in regards to the Harbor Garage redevelopment project proposal including the lack of public process without the Downtown Waterfront Municipal Harbor Plan’s (MHP) required Design and Use Standards, and a reassessment of the building’s height.
The letter urged that the area should not be “privatized in a manner that would foreclose or limit opportunities for those not wealthy enough to enjoy access and ownership”.
View all presentations in the video below and find the NEWRA-drafted letter at 58:57.