City Picks East Boston CDC as Hess Site Developer

By John Lynds

Following a meeting last Friday, the Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) named the East Boston Community Development Corporation (CDC) as the designated developer of the Hess Site on Condor Street.

The CDC developed was chosen over  two other proponents vying to develop the industrial parcel of land that once housed storage tanks for Hess Oil. The parcel is zoned as a Designated Port Area (DPA) so a majority of the activity at the site needs to be marine industrial use.

At community meetings held throughout the summer, the CDC’s proposal gained the most support of neighbors and residents as it had the least amount of negative impacts and included several plans for community use like a Harborwalk.

According to CDC head, Al Caldarelli, the CDC would be the long term lessee of the property and would use the space to consolidate three existing Eastie businesses looking to expand.

Caldarelli said his proposal would limit traffic, cause no odor and create jobs in the community. The CDC plans to build three buildings as well as a tot lot park, Harborwalk and dog park as community benefits. The three buildings would house three longstanding Eastie businesses. These businesses include John Zirpolo’s Cora Group, an expansion of Dan Noonan’s already successful shipyard and marina on Marginal Street and Peter Merullo’s Semper Diving and Marine.

All three businesses have roots in marine industrial use with Cora Group responsible for repairs and operations of bridges in the area, The Boston Shipyard and Marina on Marginal Street would expand their boat repair work in the neighborhood and Semper, a commercial diving and marine operation, would like to expand boat storage and repair opportunities in Eastie.

The BPDA chose the CDC over two other competing proposals, . City Wide Organics and the Eastern Salt Company from Chelsea,  since the CDC proposal put together solid maritime focused uses with community benefits and the community seemed to be leaning towards the CDC proposal.

“I am happy to support the CDC on this project and I am excited that it will be awarded to three local businesses,” said City Councilor Sal LaMattina. “I am also excited about the amenities that will be provided to the neighborhood in the form of open space and a  harbor walk while also keeping traffic on our streets to a minimum. I commend the CDC and each of the businesses for their work in the community and look forward to them continuing that work once they relocate to this site. “

City Wide Organics submitted a proposal to convert the property into a organic waste recycling plant that would convert waste into renewable energy and fertilizer. They also planed to create public outdoor space around the perimeter of the plant much like the MWRA Deer Island facility in Winthrop.

Eastern Salt of Chelsea’s planned to place a ‘buffer’ salt pile, like the company has across the Meridian Street Bridge in Chelsea, on the Hess Site. The salt would have been barged over from Chelsea and distributed around the region during winter storms. Eastern Salt’s plan did include community benefits like a Harborwalk and outdoor green space but residents were concerned the use could generate 40 to 50 truck trips per day during the height of winter storm activity.

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