Nearly a year ago, developer Don Chiofaro revealed fresh redevelopment plans for the Harbor Garage on the Boston waterfront. The proposal called for 700,000 square feet of office space, a luxury hotel with up to 300 rooms, 120 luxury condos, three levels of retail and 1,400 parking spaces; there was also talk of a massive public plaza called Harbor Square, which would have a retractable roof to guard against the winter weather. The new ideas represented another try by Chiofaro, after earlier redevelopment attempts faltered in the face of public and political opposition (the developer and long-time Mayor Tom Menino were not the best of pals). There was a new mayor in town, however, and Chiofaro's firm had spent a long time reaching out to locals for feedback. It seemed last spring that perhaps the redevelopment of the Harbor Garage was a go.
The Globe's Jon Chesto paints a pretty bleak picture of the prospects for Chiofaro's plans, at least in their current form. Opposition, or at least criticism that has the potential to upend everything, is coming from all sorts of directions. There's the long-on-the-record opposition of the neighboring Harbor Towers condo complex; and the administration of that new mayor, Marty Walsh, apparently shares residents' concerns about the redevelopment's scope, including how its shadows might play upon the surrounding streetscape and parkland. Then there's this, per Chesto: "New England Aquarium officials want reassurances that water and power lines won't be severed during construction and that vibrations, dust, and noise from the work won't affect the sea creatures." This thing can't win.
Chiofaro is floating another proposal, this one of a single tower stretching to 600 feet. That may be too tall for city limits and for the Federal Aviation Administration (Logan's across the water). The Boston Redevelopment Authority is expected to weigh in during the next few weeks when it presents development recommendations for that area of the waterfront. Stay tuned.
· Developer's Plan to Replace Harbor Garage with Towers Faces Test [Globe]
· Check Out the Giant Ice Rink and Other Harbor Garage Plans [Curbed Boston]
· Big-Time Downtown Project Aquarium Place Dead by the Water [Curbed Boston]
· Here's Why the Harbor Garage Towers Are Likely to Happen [Curbed Boston]
· Harbor Towers: 600 Feet High, Are You Crazy? This Is Boston! [Curbed Boston]