The 1 million-square-foot, mixed-use Pier 4 development in Southie has been a long time a-comin'. Plans for it stretch back to before the Great Recession, and construction had been gabbed about for a long while (some speculated it was supposed to start this past summer). But now it's happening: The first phase of Pier 4, a 21-story apartment and retail tower, will get under way in November. It will leave 369 apartments, ranging from studios to family-friendly three-bedrooms, in its wake (and, because this is the Seaport Innovation Fabulous District, the building will include "innovation units"). The entire project, which will include two more buildings and a one-acre park, will pretty much alter the area, making the waterfront there more accessible and the vibe more 24-7.
It's not all wine and roses. As Casey Ross of The Globe points out, the pending construction on the first phase means turning over the hourglass on Anthony's Pier 4, a restaurant whose late owner, Anthony Athanas, tried to implement his own vision for the area, before ceding eventually to current development New England Development.
In the 1980s, when most of the Seaport was largely parking lots and empty industrial land, Athanas pressed to build a mixed-use development that would transform the land between Pier 4 and Fort Point Channel into "the next jewel in Boston's crown." But Athanas lost control of much of the property in a legal battle with his former development partner, the Pritzker family of Chicago, and in the late 1990s he sold the development rights to Pier 4 itself to New England Development.
The public park is going where Anthony's is now, though that won't be for a few years. When that day comes, though, Athanas' family will have to have a Plan B. Meantime, look for the first phase to be done by 2014, and the first remark about how, lemme tell ya, things used to be so different here shortly thereafter.
· New Vibe Coming Soon to Pier 4 [Globe]
· Seaport District's Big New Apartment Tower Sets a Date [Curbed Boston]
· 10 Things to Know About the Big, New Pier 4 Towers [Curbed Boston]
· Innovation District's 'Call for Housing' Answered by 212 Number [Curbed Boston]