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This story ran in the Boston Globe on Thursday, February 28, 2002.
© Copyright 2002 Globe Newspaper Company.

by Thomas C. Palmer Jr., Globe Staff

The Boston Zoning Commission yesterday approved two development projects on the South Boston Waterfront.

One, a long-planned Fan Pier mixed-use development of nine buildings and almost 3 million square feet, still needs a state license because it is on Boston Harbor. The other, Beacon Capital Partners' 7-acre Midway project along A Street, awaits a signed cooperative agreement on changes requested by neighbors.

But both projects, which when complete will significantly change the shape of the city's real estate frontier, moved forward at City Hall without opposition, Boston Redevelopment Authority officials said.

By far the larger of the two is the Fan Pier project, proposed by Fan Pier Land Co., which is controlled by the Pritzker family with a local development partner, Spaulding & Slye Colliers.

What was once planned as a two-hotel development now includes one 325-room hotel, 625 residential units, and office and retail space, totaling 2.9 million square feet.

About 263,000 square feet of open space will be accessible to the public, BRA officials said, including two large parks.

As previously planned, the development will include the new home of the Institute of Contemporary Art, now on Boylston Street. There will be 2,285 underground parking spaces. The development is expected to create 2,000 jobs, though in the current uncertain economic climate it is not clear when construction could begin.

Public hearings on the Fan Pier proposal are scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday next week, and the public comment period extends until March 29, according to Ann MacDonald of the Department of Environmental Protection.

Beacon Capital's Midway project involves reconstruction of occupied and unoccupied buildings in the Fort Point District, plus construction of a new office and research and development building.

Midway, part of a larger city plan for redevelopment of 100 acres east of Fort Point Channel, will include 183,000 square feet of residential and work space for artists, 96,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, and 20,000 square feet of gallery area.

"We're very pleased the zoning commission has approved it," said Matthew Kiefer, a partner at Goulston & Storrs and counsel to Beacon Capital. "It's the culmination of 15 months of effort by a lot of people."

A spokeswoman for area residents said they were happy with BRA assurances this week that a cooperative agreement on changes they want will be signed before the project proceeds.

Both projects had received BRA approval before yesterday.

Thomas C. Palmer Jr. can be reached by e-mail at

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