The Waterfront – The key word: Under-utilized

What might have been best describes the state of the East Boston waterfront’s choicest buildable lots.

They were largely vacant and under-utilized in the past. They remain largely vacant and under-utilized in the present.

Only the future remains and frankly, it appears brighter than what has come before.

East Boston’s waterfront missed the boom of the 1990’s in the Clinton years.

It then missed the real estate boom that dominated much of the first decade of the new century.

Today, with the real estate marketplace being what it is, the waterfront doesn’t have much of a chance of happening.

Even if the waterfront parcels were given away, the marketplace for new construction is dormant on this side of the Mystic River and it isn’t exactly robust on the other side of the river.

What remains robust here is the changing nature of the neighborhood and the new housing that has come into place during the past decade with thousands of new residents and hundreds of artists and professionals who have come to call this place their home.

There have been countless rehabilitations of major and minor buildings and of three family houses throughout the East Boston neighborhood.

The final link to a big success is the under-built, under-utilized waterfront.

For a successful waterfront building boom to take place there must be a strong need for new housing. Concomitant with that is the availability of hundreds of millions of dollars of usable capital to fund such ventures.

What is needed most is an economic recovery so East Boston can develop the waterfront the right way, finally.

Having missed two economic booms, the third boom will likely be the charmer.

After all;, the time is going to come sooner rather than later when more and more housing is needed simply to house the nominal expansion of the population as well as satisfy those in the emerging housing market that always exists who are seeking waterfront property with views of the Boston skyline.

It is no one’s fault that the East Boston waterfront remains largely vacant at this late stage in the neighborhood’s long term development.

What was going to be on the waterfront failed because of the economy not because of the neighborhood.

Regrettably there is a very simple matrix about the ups and downs here.

When everything is great with the economy prices rise faster and higher in Boston than in East Boston.

When the economy goes the other way, prices fall faster and lower in East Boston than in Boston.

The same is true with interest in developing.

When things are great, Eastie gets a look.

When things are bad, developers look elsewhere.

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