This story ran on page B2 of the Boston Globe on 10/28/2000.
© Copyright 2000 Globe Newspaper Company.


Durand to hire fiscal analyst
Seeks evaluation of harbor plan

By Steven Wilmsen, Globe Staff

Mulling cutbacks in the massive waterfront development plan proposed by Nicholas Pritzker, the state is hiring its own financial analyst to determine what kind of changes the developer can afford.

The step is another maneuver in the contentious battle over the shape of the waterfront, as both Pritzker and his opponents heap pressure on state Environmental Affairs Secretary Robert Durand to make a decision.

Durand, whose review is the last governmental hurdle to the Pritzker project, is looking for possible changes to the city's master plan for waterfront development, which includes Pritzker's proposed $1.2 billion project. Critics say the project, which includes condos, hotels and office towers, is too large, too dense, and doesn't include enough open space.

Pritzker has said any more cutbacks in the size of the development would threaten the project financially. But, so far, he has refused to give Durand specific financial data to support the claim.

Without data from the developer, Durand began seeking proposals last week for an independent consultant to make estimates of Pritzker's likely costs and profits.

''If we start talking about scenarios about doing this or that, we want to have an idea of how much it's really going to cost,'' Durand spokesman Doug Pizzi said.

City officials have already reviewed the developer's financial analysis of the project and have backed Pritzker in his claims. But they are keeping those figures secret, and officials in Durand's office say they want to have their own detailed understanding.

While continuing to refuse Durand detailed financial information, Pritzker officials yesterday said they're now willing to discuss ''financial aspects'' of the project with him.

''If he can find creative ways to finance the infrastructure, we'd love to hear about them,'' said Kyle Warwick of Spaulding & Slye Colliers, Pritzker's Boston representative.

Your comments as a visitor to the SAND website would be appreciated and forwarded for discussion.