Developer JW Capital Partners is encountering the sort of resistance to its 277-room, two-building Lewis Wharf hotel that would be familiar to the Chiofaro Company at the Harbor Garage just down the waterfront. Residents are concerned the relatively squat addition (no higher than 55 feet) will aversely affect traffic, noise, views, yada yada.
But, as the Globe's intrepid Tim Logan reports, the Lewis Wharf opposition is not comprised merely of petitions and placards. Opponents have hired a political consultancy for PR and recently buttonholed Mayor Marty Walsh at a fundraiser he held in the North End. They see the Lewis Wharf plans, whatever the sweeteners such as a new park and better access to the Harborwalk, as just a further walling-off of the waterfront.
And, unlike any opponents of development in places such as East Boston or the Seaport, the North End opponents face a different reality and generally inhabit a different demographic. Per Logan:
"[In Eastie and the Seaport], big plans sailed through with barely a fight, in part because there weren't many immediate neighbors, and they weren't particularly well-organized. The North End is different, she said. There, neighbors are close by and already fed up with traffic. They're also affluent and well-connected."
Right now things are in flux, with detailed plans only recently filed with the city. Stay tuned. All we'll say now that should the Lewis Wharf hotel get built, it will find no shortage of guests willing to pony up for a room.
· Lewis Wharf Becomes Latest Front in Fight Over Waterfront Development [Globe]
· New England Aquarium Swimming Against Harbor Garage Plans [Curbed Boston]
· Boston's Many New Hotels Will Find a Warm Reception [Curbed Boston]
· Our Arrested Development archive [Curbed Boston]