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Banker and Tradesman / online edition (BREAKING NEWS)


Menino Demands Housing In Fort Point District

By Thomas Grillo, Reporter

Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino wants a developer to abandon plans to turn a pair of vacant warehouses into office space and build housing instead.

“The developer would like to see offices, but what the developer wants is not always what’s going to happen,” Menino told Banker & Tradesman. “We always live up to our commitments when it comes to the neighborhoods of our city.”

Menino’s remarks follow intense community opposition from Fort Point Channel residents who said the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) has retreated on a promise of more housing in the neighborhood near South Station.

Earlier this month, residents protested Lincoln Property Co.’s proposal to convert 316-322 Summer St. into 140,000 square feet of office space with ground-floor retail. At a packed public hearing, neighbors blamed the BRA for abandoning the city’s vision of a Fort Point district that would include a 24-hour, mixed-use neighborhood anchored by 11 acres of open space and 6 million square feet of development, with at least one-third as housing.

The news took Steven Hollinger, a member of the Seaport Alliance for Neighborhood Design, by surprise. “We have not seen the BRA exert that amount of pressure on developers to do something incrementally toward completion of a plan for our evolving neighborhood,” he said. “This is a very positive step.”

John F. Palmieri, director of the BRA, said Tuesday the agency plans to review the planning and policy issues raised by residents.

“Our goal is to make sure that there’s the right mix of development, and the first few projects are almost exclusively commercial,” he said. “So we are stepping back to evaluate our practices and see what we can do to encourage property owners to take a hard look at residential.”

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