Tonight, at a meeting at South Boston's Fish Pier, the BRA and planning team of Cooper Robertson presented a broad overview of elements of the forthcoming Seaport District Master Plan scheduled for official release on January 4th and slated for publication in late January.

Cooper Robertson presented a birds-eye view of the entire South Boston waterfront, introducing the mix of uses that would meet the needs of its varied constituencies. Painting broad strokes rather than specific details of the plan, the presentation concentrated mainly on general relationships between residential areas, commercial areas and mixed-use areas. Transit systems, water activity, and open space were also discussed.

The preview envisioned residential development with a mix of affordabilities on either side of the Convention Center, in the Fort Point Channel and D Street areas, mixed residential and commercial in the western inner harbor and Fan Pier, and heavier commercial density between the Convention Center and World Trade Center. A significant portion of the discussion focused on activation of the waterfront edges, including Harborwalk attractions, ferry terminals and other seaside projects.

Audience comments, a number of which stressed the concerns of South Boston residents, focused on protections for the Marine Industrial Park and the creation of affordable housing in South Boston to alleviate market pressures. Other comments reflected a desire for the public discussion to continue once the Master Plan was finalized.

SAND Comment

SAND members have been especially supportive of BRA plans to expand the concept of "community" into the South Boston waterfront rather than to plan for a strictly commercial district.

Having recently attended other preview presentations by Cooper Robertson, including a meeting at South Boston's Gavin School on December 1st, SAND members have been aware of many of the elements presented at tonight's preview. Our comments, based on our ongoing discussions regarding the Cooper Roberston work, is fairly well represented by a December 8th letter from SAND to BRA Director Tom O'Brien (published below). We expect that a number of concerns reflected at the meeting and in this letter will be resolved in the BRA Master Plan and during the new year.


Mr. Thomas O' Brien
The Boston Redevelopment Authority
One City Hall Square
Boston, MA 02201

Dear Mr. O' Brien:

We of the Seaport Alliance for a Neighborhood Design support recent BRA efforts regarding the planning of a significant residential component within the South Boston waterfront. We look forward to seeing these plans formalized as part of the forthcoming BRA South Boston Seaport District Master Plan.

We have long advocated for the planning of a neighborhood in the Seaport District. We recognize that the investment and attention of thousands of residents - rather than the accomodation of a limited number of interests, will ensure that the area evolves and sustains itself as do all Boston neighborhoods. We also recognize the intense need for housing in the Seaport District to alleviate existing pressures on the South Boston community.

It is especially encouraging for us to hear that your office will plan for a mix of affordabilities and building scales throughout the Seaport District. Upscale residential condo projects and residential towers tend to be insular, protecting and separating the occupants from the outside world while mixed-use and smaller scale dwellings create pedestrian activity as its occupants require closer integration with local area services. All wonderful neighborhoods in Boston have a mix of uses and an inviting diversity of populations.

Of course, as we eagerly anticipate the publication of the Seaport District Master Plan, some concerns remain. Notably:

SAND members appreciate your efforts over the past year towards improving the Master Plan. We look forward to working with you in the months to come.


Steve Hollinger
On behalf of:
The Seaport Alliance for a Neighborhood Design (SAND)

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