Last week, State Senator Stephen F. Lynch met with representatives of the Boston Wharf Company to discuss the displacement of Fort Point artists, architects and other tenants in three turn-of-the century buildings on Stillings Street -- buildings now slated for demolition and replacement with a parking garage.
Although a percentage of the Stillings Street tenants had been relocated or offered alternative accommodation by the Boston Wharf Company, a number of tenants remain with limited opportunity to continue in the Fort Point neighborhood as the area continues to serve market demand for office space.
SAND has supported, and continues to support the Fort Point arts community, recognizing that the artists not only serve as valuable contributors to Boston's culture, but also as firmly rooted tenants in an area we expect to evolve as a mixed-use neighborhood. The Boston Wharf Company, the largest property owner in Fort Point, has repeatedly stated its intent to suit parcels and projects according to prevailing market forces.
As a result of discussions with Senator Lynch, The Boston Wharf Company agreed to assist Stillings Street tenants facing relocation at the end of December -- providing an additional month of tenancy and a per-studio compensation to aid with relocation expenses.
SAND appreciates Senator Lynch's diligence and outstanding support for Fort Point artists. We also appreciate Boston Wharf Company representatives' assistance with Stillings Street tenants and in expressing a willingness to participate in this ongoing dialog.
To read SAND's letter to the BRA regarding the Stillings Street proposal, click here.
Representatives of the Fort Point Arts Community (FPAC), SAND and tenants of 11-23 Stillings Street met yesterday with State Senator Stephen F. Lynch regarding the displacement of area artists, most recently by the proposed demolition of three historic Stillings Street buildings to make way for a parking garage.
Senator Lynch, a staunch supporter of Fort Point's arts community with a solid record of community-minded leadership, assured the group that his office has responded to the proposal's Project Notification Form (PNF) with a letter to the Boston Redevelopment Authority and is attentively considering this project.
The following letter from Kyle Turnow, the voice of a Fort Point artist and tenant of the Stillings Street buildings now scheduled for demolition, was filed with the BRA in response to the Project Notification Form.
Fort Point artists, continually pressured by escalating market demand for space in Boston Wharf buildings, have reacted strongly to the displacement of Stillings Street artists -- and the startling lack of recognition at City Hall for the valuable cultural contribution made by these artists.
SAND was not made aware of the displacement of Stillings Street artists until October 26, two weeks after the Boston Wharf Company received approval for demolition and a waiver of delay.
We continue to work closely with the Fort Point Arts Community (FPAC) and a recently formed creative coalition (Mobius, Revolving Museum, New England Foundation for the Arts) to improve connections between the Fort Point creative community and South Boston elected officials, City Hall and residents of greater Boston.
Dear Susan Hannon:
This letter is to voice my opposition to the demolition of the warehouse buildings on Stillings St Fort Point Channel District.
While other individuals have presented their cases to you regarding the impact of additional cars from the proposed parking garage into the traffic pattern of the neighborhood or the historic past which these buildings mark in the growth of Boston. As well as the aesthetic impact of loosing a building that offers a diversity of scale and height to contrast the eight to twenty story walled in streets planned for this area. Another issue is to understand the value these spaces have had for the cultural contributions brought forth from them to the benefit of the Greater Boston community.
For nearly twenty years this structure has housed a collective of artists. It has been the fertile ground for their personal development and exploration into the arts. It has provided an environment in which individuals could collaborate, learn and share from one another. There are few resources such as this within the city. In turn, these artist have been able to share their explorations with the public via the annual Open Studios, gallery and art openings, music and theatrical events. They have made their work accessible to hundreds of people at a time. Where in the greater Boston area could these type of events take place without disturbing residential areas.
The city needs to take note of what is being lost. Boston prides itself in its tradition. These buildings are a part of that. They have shown their versatility to adapt to different functions through the years. These buildings have not deteriorated and fallen apart. They have been part of the growth and transitions of the city and still have the ability to be such in the future. The design of this structure was for heavy storage. Their timber construction can provide the support for additional levels to be added. This should be considered as part of a proposal endorsed by the city and formulated to benefit Boston Wharf, the culture of the city and its artists.
On a final note. In light of the ICA being awarded the land to build a new museum it is worse then ironic that another facility so near will be lost. One that has an equal role in supporting the arts. If Boston does not step up and address this issue what are the citizens of this community to expect of the other buildings that are home to other established, nationally funded, artist groups. If Boston Wharf has endorsed this use of their space and therefore nurtured this cultural development, should they not be encouraged by the city to continue. If Boston is serious about turning around and becoming a modern city, a city supporting a diversity of culture, a city rich in tradition, then it should prevent the demolition of these buildings.
Thank you for presenting my concerns to the city.
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