The Next Wave? Menino Pitches Plans to Establish a Waterfront Development District

Mayor Thomas Menino discusses plans to establish an East Boston Waterfront Development Dis¬trict, during his annual address before the Boston Chamber of Commerce.

When talking about how East Boston is the city’s next up and coming neighborhood residents here inevitably utter the words, ‘now if we can only get the waterfront done’.

Eastie has sat idle and watched as the waterfronts of South Boston, the North End and Charlestown changed the landscape of those neighborhoods and the city as a whole.

Now, Mayor Thomas Menino is hoping to recreate the those waterfront successes in Eastie.

At his annual speech before the Boston Chamber of Commerce, Menino pitched his plan to establish an East Boston Waterfront Development District, allowing the City to use various tools to jumpstart development.

“Here we are at the annual Boston Chamber breakfast, where all the eyes of the city’s business development community come to hear the Mayor’s major policy pitches on development and for him to make East Boston’s waterfront the focus of this year’s speech is huge,” said Senator Anthony Petruccelli. “Words can’t explain how wonderful it is to hear Mayor Menino’s level of commitment to advancing our waterfront development projects over the goal line.”

In his speech the Mayor proposed District Improvement Financing in Eastie that would allow the city to invest up front in infrastructure and recoup the cost later through tax revenue as a way to jumpstart development on the waterfront here.

“Right now, there are five large parcels that remain full of untapped potential along the East Boston Waterfront,” explained Menino. “There are nine pending projects in total that could provide new jobs, new housing, and new vibrancy to one of Boston’s great neighborhoods.  Portside, Clippership, Hodge Boiler, New Street, Boston East and several others together represent 2.5 million square feet, more than 1,800 housing units, 1,400 construction jobs and 300 permanent jobs.  All told, these projects represent more than half a billion dollars of development.”

Menino told the crowd of Boston’s business elite that economic uncertainty has stalled progress here but that he believes focus, collective action, and investment by the city can jump-start it.

“I have asked the BRA to begin the process of creating an

East Boston Waterfront Development District,” said Menino. “This will allow the City to use an array of tools, including our first District Improvement Financing, to spark progress for the neighborhood.”

City Councilor Sal LaMattina said that Menino’s speech signals a very exciting time for Eastie’s future.

“I’ve been working on waterfront development for over two decades so I’m excited for the neighborhood following this speech,” said LaMattina. “This is a shot in the arm the neighborhood needs to provide a comprehensive waterfront development plan that will translate into jobs, market rate housing, retail space, and water transportation. The Mayor has long been excited about the possibilities here with waterfront development and I’ll be working very closely with him and my colleagues in East Boston to keep this plan on track.”

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