Shipyard Investment Plan Discussed Thoroughly at Recent JPNA Meeting

By Michael Coughlin Jr.

Last week, Boston Harbor Shipyard & Marina’s (BHSM) investment plan proponents attended the Jeffries Point Neighborhood Association’s (JPNA) planning and zoning meeting to discuss the project. The aforementioned investment plan has been extensively discussed with the JPNA at the macro level for quite some time. However, last week’s meeting featured a presentation that focused on the next eight to 12 months at the JPNA’s request. “The goal is to allow people to ask questions that really go into the nitty-gritty details, and again, this is because we asked it,” said Margaret Farmer, Co-Chair of the JPNA. To begin their presentation, Ann Lagasse, who owns the Shipyard along with her husband Chuck, introduced members of her team as well as Massport’s Chief Development Officer Andrew Hargens, who detailed the port authority’s role and the role of designated port areas (DPA). Hargens, who expressed his excitement about the development of the investment plan, indicated the difference between this project and others that residents are used to seeing in the neighborhood. “This project is very different than development projects that we do, and you’re probably familiar with, that are commercial or large residential in scale,” he said. “It’s an industrial project — maritime industrial — set of uses in a designated port area.” Speaking about DPAs, Hargens said, “The legislature set the land aside specifically to protect maritime industrial uses and the jobs — blue collar, diverse jobs they support in the commonwealth in the face of gentrification.” He also briefly discussed the process, indicating that the project might trigger state review from the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act Office (MEPA). Further, Hargens mentioned that phases of the project will go through Conservation Commission approval and that all of the proposed uses are consistent with what is allowed in the DPA and Chapter 91. Massport will also use an internal review process at each phase of the project, which includes aspects such as engineering, the environment, and more. Also, whatever is built on the property is subject to inspection from the state as the land is owned by Massport and leased to the Lagasses. It should also be noted that, according to Hargens, this project will not go through the Article 80 process “because it’s not that kind of development project.” Following Hargens’ statements, the floor was given to Marshall Greenland, BHSM’s General Manager, who walked through a PowerPoint presentation that reviewed several topics. The first topic Greenland discussed was updates from the Shipyard. He debriefed the last meeting BHSM had with the JPNA in January. He indicated that the topics were wide-ranging during that meeting and that documents requested in that meeting would be provided when available. To view January’s meeting in its entirety, visit The East Boston Times also published a story about the meeting, which can be viewed at After debriefing the previous meeting, Greenland provided updates about a shadow study stemming from a request from January’s meeting and that more information would be provided at a future meeting. Greenland also discussed adding a new restaurant to the Shipyard—Aloe Natural, which has a location in Chelsea — and Deme Offshore signed a lease for a new office building in a larger space in the Shipyard. There was also a discussion about emergency repairs. “The Shipyard’s been working closely with the Boston Conservation Commission to receive an order of conditions which will enable us to make much-needed repairs to the facility on an ongoing basis,” said Greenland. Recently, Marina Pier approach platform repairs have been underway, and other emergency repairs will focus on damaged docks, sinkholes, pier decks, and more. After the updates, Greenland provided information about upcoming projects that will be undertaken in “the coming months.” One project is the demolition of Building 17, which was first constructed in 1926, had an addition added in 1943, and has been used as indoor storage since the late 1980s. “Building 17 is beyond its usable life; it’s fallen into disrepair, which is making it a safety hazard for future uses,” said Greenland. He indicated that BHSM will work through the demolition process in the coming months and provide updates as it progresses. Another upcoming project is a geotechnical analysis of the site. “Geotechnical data is used by engineers to determine structural designs based on the underlying ground conditions,” said Greenland. “The process is done by taking soil samples at various depths through small four-inch borings that are drilled into the ground,” he added while calling it a minimal impact operation and saying it would begin in the next two to three months. Finally, there are also plans to complete the design and permitting process of Buildings one and two, which are proposed as part of the investment plan.  “Both of the buildings are planned to be used as tenant spaces for companies involved in water transportation and vessel repair industries,” said Greenland. To wrap up the presentation, Greenland provided information about upcoming events such as Kids in Boating Day on June 9th from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and Cinemarina on July 17th from 7:30 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. BHSM also plans to have free boat tours to view the facility in the water sometime in June or July. For more information, visit Following the presentation, the floor was opened for those in attendance to ask questions. One resident, Mary Cole, had questions and concerns regarding the geotechnical analysis. “I’m very concerned about the test pits that will be excavated as part of the geotechnical exploration,” she said. Cole cited a previous site assessment of the Shipyard, which revealed soil contamination and findings of lead, arsenic, and PCBs. (!/wastesite/3-0026551) Moreover, Cole cited the plans for the upcoming geotechnical analysis, which she thought would include 2,000 square feet of test pits dug eight feet into the ground and eight soil stockpiles encompassing 6,000 square feet. “What I’m concerned about — I’m concerned about potentially toxic dust getting kicked up from all this digging,” said Cole. She also pointed out that a similar project in the Seaport also had these types of concerns. As part of that project, Cole says Massport provided an independent licensed professional to protect and inform the community, and she wondered if that could happen for the BHSM project. Matt Madden, a consultant from Tetra Tech, responded to Cole’s concerns, saying, “The site has been assessed; there’s an activity and use limitation on the site, and the test pits are within the authorized activities within the activity and use limitation.” He also later indicated that the opening and closing of each test pit would be completed within a day. Hargens also addressed Cole’s inquiry about the Seaport project, indicating that Massport is completing it and that the site has PCB contamination. Hargens also mentioned he would look into the independent licensed professional information. Another resident, Matthew Martin, asked if information usually available in the Article 80 process, such as square footage for uses, the amount of parking generated by uses, and more, would be provided, to which Hargens said yes. William Jennings, who lives near one of the proposed buildings—Building Four—wanted to know about its uses and the project build, as he has young kids. He also asked about plans for climate resiliency. Regarding Building Four, Greenland indicated they would be happy to share details as they become available and would work with Jennings when there is a tenant. As for resiliency, Greenland, in part, said, “We want to build these projects and the infrastructure in a way that’s going to last.”  Ultimately, as the question and answer session progressed, several other topics were discussed, such as the proposed container village, the potential JPNA voting process, timelines, and much more. For more information about this meeting, visit the JPNA website — — where a recording of the meeting, the presentation, and minutes are usually posted.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *