This story ran on page B02 of the Boston Globe on 11/16/2000.
© Copyright 2000 Globe Newspaper Company.

Pier 4 plan is cleared for OK
By Steven Wilmsen, Globe Staff, 11/16/2000

A plan for the next major harborfront complex of condominiums, hotel, and offices on Pier 4 was cleared for quick approval by state environmental regulators yesterday.

While it still needs final endorsement this month, developer Stephen R. Karp's 1 million-square-foot shopping and residential plan for the pier, now home to legendary Anthony's Pier 4 restaurant, was so warmly received that regulators said its approval is virtually assured.

Three buildings ranging from about 10 stories to 22 stories high would line the pier, leaving walkways and a 1-acre park at the tip of the pier. Anthony's would be razed or relocated to make way for the development. Plans are still in the early stages, but Robert J. Slattery, president of Arrowstreet Inc. and Karp's Boston-based architect, said the development would include mall-like retail spaces and restaurants near the water.

The project, a trimmed-down version of the 1.5 million-square-foot development Karp had proposed a year ago, won applause even from the Conservation Law Foundation, which has vehemently opposed dense developments along the water.

''Here we have a developer who was willing to do what it took,'' said Stephanie Pollack, a Conservation Law Foundation attorney.

As talks over the nearby Fan Pier remain in a stalemate, state regulators used Karp's flexibility, and the speedy approval, to criticize Fan Pier developer Nicholas Pritzker for not negotiating further cuts in his plan.

''Karp was in and out the door just like that,'' said Doug Pizzi, spokesman for Robert Durand, state secretary of environmental affairs. ''That's what we wanted for all the developers down there. This just shows you that it doesn't have to be that hard. We're willing to work with people who are willing to work with us.''

Negotiations over the controversial Fan Pier have been deadlocked since Durand rejected a proposal two weeks ago by Mayor Thomas M. Menino to slim down one of seven buildings planned for the $1.2 billion development of condominiums, hotels, and offices on the Fan Pier property next door to Pier 4.

Acrimony between Pritzker, a Chicago hotel magnate, and Durand had been growing since the developer threatened last month to pull the plug on his project if the environmental secretary did not approve it by Nov. 15. Durand later demanded that Pritzker eliminate a building, in order to reduce shadows.

An agreement over the Fan Pier site had not been reached yesterday, leaving the project in doubt. Pritzker and city planners continued to resist Durand's demands to eliminate the building. But Durand yesterday extended his so-called ''consultation period,'' which was previously scheduled to end after a morning meeting, leaving open the possibility of further talks with Pritzker.

Regulators in Durand's office have said they have been frustrated by Pritzker's apparent unwillingness to negotiate face to face, and yesterday made overtures to bring the developer in.

''The Pier 4 people came in here and sat down with us, and we worked something out,'' Pizzi said. ''Our door is still open for that if somebody is willing.''

''We took the secretary's requests, ran some numbers, and came up with something we can live with,'' said Slattery.

This story ran on page B02 of the Boston Globe on 11/16/2000.
© Copyright 2000 Globe Newspaper Company.

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