Press release recently circulated by Preservation Mass:
Contact: Jim Igoe or Erin Kelly, 617-723-3383
Fort Point Channel Historic District on 10 Most Endangered Resources List
Protections by city agencies essential to managing future growth.
The Fort Point Channel Historic District has been named one of Massachusetts’ “10 Most Endangered Historic Resources”. The list is compiled each year by Preservation Massachusetts, the state’s historic preservation organization.
The unique architecture of this area reflects its history as a 19th century industrial waterfront district that fueled Boston’s economic growth for nearly a century. Comprised of over one hundred intact historic warehouses, the District was owned by the Boston Wharf Company until last year when the portfolio was sold to multiple entities for development.
“This district is extremely significant in regards to its historic ties to Boston, says Jim Igoe, President of Preservation Massachusetts. “Although we are aware of the protective measures currently pending, steps must be taken now to insure the character of this area will not be lost”.
Juxtaposed to the recent sales, adequate local protections are not in place. A Boston Landmark District proposed in 2001 gained widespread support of residents, city agencies and developers. In October, 2006, over five years later, a study committee to consider the district was approved. The Committtee’s review is likely to take at elast another one and a half years before the district is implemented.
Without the Boston Landmark District in place, the buildings are not protected from demolition or alterations that would affect scale and character. The only planning control for the majority of the district is an Interim Overlay Planning District (IPOD). The IPOD is intended to restrict building height and massing, but newly approved development proposals well exceed the IPOD limits. As development pressures increase, the district and appropriate zoning are essential to effectively managing the future growth of the Fort Point Channel area, allowing for change while still protecting the important historic buildings and character of the district.
"Community members and preservation advocates have been asking the city to put the protections in place for nearly six years, states Sarah Kelly, Executive Director of the Boston Preservation Alliance. “While there is much opportunity for new development in the Seaport District, the historic core of the Fort Point Channel must be preserved as part of Boston’s maritime industrial legacy.”Other Endangered Resources
The other nine endangered sites on the 2006 list are: the General Loring House outbuildings (Beverly); the entire State Park System; the Sarah Clayes House (Framingham); the Keystone Arches (Middlefield, Chester and Becket); the Wheelwright Garden (Newburyport); the William Russell Allen House (Pittsfield); the Wright-Lock-Hamilton Farm (Winchester); the Worcester State Hospital Complex; and the state’s historic wooden sash windows.
About the 10 Most Endangered List
Now in its 13th year, the list has become an effective tool for preservationists to focus attention on the condition of individual historic properties and their importance to communities. Of the more than 100 historic sites designated as endangered since the list’s inception in 1993, fewer than a dozen have been lost.
This year’s list was culled from nominations submitted by preservation-minded groups and individuals throughout the state. Submissions are judged by several criteria, including their historic significance, the extent of the threat and the community’s commitment to preserving the resource.
Founded in 1985, Preservation MASS (formerly known as Historic Massachusetts, Inc.) is the only statewide non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the Commonwealth’s historic and cultural heritage.
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