In yesterday's Wall Street Journal, Fan Pier developers indicated that they will walk away if the recommendations issued in Environmental Secretary Durand's Draft are included in the Final Decision. The major recommendations required are:
- Fan Pier Parcel H Office Building (at the foot of the cove) eliminated for greenspace
- Fan Pier maximum heights reduced from 300 feet to 250 feet per FAA
- Hotel lobbies ("four seasons rooms") do not qualify for offsets
These modifications are consistent with public comments and recommendations from Mayor Menino, the Boston Redevelopment Authority and State offices since 1997, when the prior Fan Pier proposal for development of a 3.1 Million square foot office/hotel complex was withdrawn. At that time, the proposal's proponents attempted to have the Fan Pier plan approved by filing a Notice of Project Change based on a proposal they had approved ten years earlier. Upon filing and subsequent to the proposal's withdrawal, the Fan Pier team were continually issued recommendations with a clear theme:
- Mayor Menino's appointed Waterfront Committee recommendation of 1997: Hold Fan Pier at 1.5 Million Square Feet
- Public Comment letters of 1998: More open space, reduce density (click here to read SAND's letter of 2/98)
- Pritzker workshops of October 1998: "Creating a Flagship Waterfront Park" listed as one of the Challenges (click here to read)
- BRA South Boston Seaport Public Realm Plan of March 1999: District average height 150', District predominate height 150', Few buildings in entire District to approach 300'
- South Boston Community Meeting recommendations of November 1999: Reduce density, more open space (click here)
- Property Owner / Abutter McCourt in December 1999: Too much height, density, too little open space (click here)
- Conservation Law Foundation recommendations of March 2000 (click here)
- Boston Society of Architects recommendation: 2.1 - 2.3 Million square feet (click here)
- EOEA recommendations in April 2000: Reduce density, more open space (click here)
During this three year period, these recommendations and suggestions for improvement were not adopted.
Click here to read a SAND report from November of 1999, and a list of SAND comments on Fan Pier.
Despite the fact that Fan Pier proponents claim to have held 400 public meetings, little has changed in the plan since January of 1999 and few suggested improvements adopted. Instead, the proposal weighed in at over 3.1 million square feet, larger than the withdrawn proposal of 1997.
And no changes were made as a result of the Municipal Harbor Plan drafting process -- under intense pressure from the development and business community, the MHP was instead shaped exactly to fit the Pritzker's proposal as is. The developers, and many proponents of their plan, chose not to heed recommendations or offer workable compromises -- instead relying on fear about the loss of economic cycles and construction jobs.
Your comments as a visitor to the SAND website would be appreciated and forwarded for discussion.