A stalled project at the North End’s Lovejoy Wharf is getting a second chance with the Boston Redevelopment Authority’s recent approval of updated plans for the project.
At their meeting on Dec. 13, the BRA unanimously voted to support a proposal presented by developers The Beal Companies and The Related Companies, for a property located on the 2.1-acre Lovejoy Wharf waterfront area, which includes 160 North Washington St. and 131 Beverley St., just over the river from Charlestown.
Originally approved by the BRA in November 2006, the project at the time included the demolition and replacement of the existing Beverley Street building and rehabilitation of the North Washington Street building to produce about 250 new housing units as well as retail uses, according to Geoff Lewis, project manager for the BRA.
But beyond some preliminary construction and fencing set up on the property, the project never came to fruition.
Now Beal and Related are renewing efforts to develop the site, offering a similar plan that maintains the building height and footprint but changes the planned use for the North Washington Street building from residential to office.
In addition, the project involves reconstruction of the wharf and the construction of a two-level pavilion that would link North Washington Street to the wharf below and provide a public space for community groups. The project also will connect the Boston Harborwalk between the North End and the Charles River Basin.
“Constructed in 1909, the wharf has never been open for public use, is in significant disrepair and remains closed to the public except for limited surface parking,” Beal Companies Senior Vice President Peter Spellios wrote in a letter to the BRA. “The project will transform this dilapidated wharf into a fully restored, fully activated, landscaped open space at the water’s edge complete with seasonal market activities, retail vendors, seating, dining, performance space, temporary recreational boat dockage and public water transportation facilities.”
Several members of the BRA as well as other city representatives spoke out in favor of the project.
“This public realm has been neglected for as long as I can remember, and we’re certainly glad to see this underway,” Lewis said.
Bob O’Brien, executive director of the Downtown North Association, said he and others had begun to believe the project would never be built.
“This is truly a crucial and transformative project,” he said.
The project is expected to take about three years to complete, with wharf improvements first on the list, Spellios told the BRA.