Applying pier pressure on City Hall for a waterfront park
Building a signature park on South Boston’s rapidly changing waterfront seems like a great idea. Pulling it off? That’s turning out to be a challenge in an area where real estate is so hot, even the space above the water is worth millions.
Concert impresario Don Law told the Globe’s editorial board Tuesday that he hopes to meet with Mayor Marty Walsh next month to discuss the potential for a park on a city-owned pier known as Dry Dock #4. Another likely agenda item for Law: scuttling the city’s plans for a developer to build a pier out into the water next door. Kavanagh Advisory Group of Danvers just sent a letter to the city, saying it was reviving its plans to build out into the water, noting it’s in talks with potential maritime research and development tenants.
Law concedes that the project next door, with potential heights of 55 feet, could partially obstruct concertgoers’ stellar skyline views from the Blue Hills Bank Pavilion, which Law oversees. When asked if he’s interested in the area’s development potential, Law says his “focus is to get a park built.”
By that, Law means, a park out on Dry Dock #4. The forlorn, city-owned parcel requires millions in renovations. But it’s still a prize, one of the few empty waterfront parcels in Boston, with beautiful views. It’s sparked plenty of hopes and dreams. Former mayor Tom Menino wanted to put City Hall there. State officials once considered it for a helipad to help General Electric. Plans have even been floated to park a cruise ship there.
The Trustees of Reservations would like to help build a park there. The Walsh administration preferred Fort Point for a waterfront park; TOR also has one under way in East Boston. But the nonprofit hasn’t given up on the dry dock. The city was supposed to solicit proposals for the space this past spring. But now there are no plans to do so in the immediate future, in part because city officials are waiting for state approval of a broader industrial park plan for the area. Instead, the dock is being considered to be used in the rebuilding of the Long Island Bridge.
Law’s employer, Live Nation, has an obvious financial interest in how this turns out. But he plans to make the case that the area around the Pavilion should be developed holistically, to provide some important public space to a part of the city that badly needs it.