Thursday, June 26, 2008

BRA Approves Heliport Exploration Project

From Patriot Ledger:

BOSTON – The Boston Redevelopment Authority has given a heliport company the green light to explore operating a heliport in the Boston Marine Industrial Park despite concerns raised by some South Boston neighbors about the potential noise.

The city agency will hold a formal process that allows the owners of Air Pegasus to discuss its proposal for a heliport with city officials and the public. The issues to be addressed will include the number of flights per day and the types of helicopters to be used.

The city previously had a public heliport on the South Boston waterfront, but it was closed in 1999 to make way for the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center. The BRA said the closest helicopter refueling stations are in Norwood and at the Hanscom Air Force Base.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Arson Not Cause of James Hook Fire

Arson ruled out in fire that gutted Boston lobster business

June 11, 2008

BOSTON --Investigators have ruled out arson in the fire that gutted a landmark lobster business on Boston's waterfront last month.

The Boston Fire Department said Wednesday that an electrical or mechanical problem likely caused the May 30 blaze that caused an estimated $5 million in damage to the James Hook & Co. building. No one was injured in the fire at 440 Atlantic Ave.

Investigators believe the early morning fire started in the center of the building. That area of the structure was destroyed, making an exact cause difficult to determine.

The family business was founded in 1925. Ed Hook, who owns it along with three siblings, has said the family planned to rebuild.

James Hook & Co. shipped 50,000 pounds of lobsters a day, among other seafood, selling mostly to distributors and some restaurants. The building also had a small retail store.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Live Theatre at Midway Studios, June 27-28

Gods, Monsters, and the Other:
A Festival of New Works for the Stage
Friday, June 27th, 8 pm
Saturday, June 28th, 3 and 8 pm
Midway Studios
15 Channel Center St.

For tickets and details see:

Pressure Against Landmarking

Developers are apparently trying to mount opposition to the landmarking guidelines to water them down. If, like me, you believe the historic character of Fort Point is part of what makes the neighborhood great and is worth preserving, please come to the meeting this evening to show support:

Fort Point Landmark Committee
Final review of the draft guidelines
Wed, June 18, 2008
Boston Convention Center
415 Summer Street

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Final Chance for Comments on Landmarking, 6/18

The next Fort Point Landmark Study Committee will be held on:

Wed, June 18, 2008
Boston Convention Center
415 Summer Street

We are presently in a final review of the draft guidelines.

Fort Point's community representatives on the Study Committee are Valerie Burns, Steve Hollinger, Pratap Talwar and Michele Yeeles.

Please note that the date of June 18th represents an important deadline as a final opportunity for all citizens and stakeholders to request the opening of sections of the draft guidelines for possible revision. For official details regarding this deadline, the June 18 meeting agenda, or to download a set of the current draft guidelines, visit the Boston Landmarks Commission website at

Your interest, input and support are appreciated. At this particular stage of the process, feedback on the guidelines must be directed to the entire BLC Study Committee through the Boston Landmarks Commission process as outlined at

Steve Hollinger



In 2001, the Fort Point District was petitioned for designation as a Boston Landmark District with the Boston Landmarks Commission (BLC). With the support of and funding by Boston City Council and Mayor Menino, the Fort Point District underwent a comprehensive study with a BLC-appointed historian and consultant, completing a building survey and Study Report in 2003. In 2006, the Boston Landmarks Commission convened a Study Committee of 11 Mayoral-appointed Study Commitee members (including 4 community representatives) to draft a set of District Guidelines at a series of public meetings. Since 2006, the Study Committee has been meeting publicly to draft guidelines. The Study Committee is now engaged in a review of the guidelines which, once finalized, will be adopted with the District designation anticipated for late 2008.

Other Boston Landmark Districts include Back Bay, the South End and Beacon Hill. For more information, visit the BLC website at

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Barking Crab Not Being Moved for Seaport Square

$3.5 billion city neighborhood
Developer John Hynes makes Seaport Square plan official
By Scott Van Voorhis | Tuesday, June 3, 2008 |
| Real Estate

Photo by Seaport Square
A rebuilt Barking Crab will not be part of Seaport Square, a sweeping
proposal for millions of square feet of new development near South
Boston¹s waterfront.

Hub developer John Hynes, who officially filed his Seaport Square
proposal yesterday at City Hall, confirmed he has dropped his efforts
to lure the harborside seafood eatery into his project.

The proposal failed to win over the eatery¹s owners, who have opted to
stay in their rustic and colorful perch right on the waterfront.

³The Barking Crab is in a very unique location there,² said George
Regan, the restaurant¹s spokesman. ³There is only so much waterfront
in this city.²

Undaunted, Hynes said he¹s now pushing ahead with plans for what would
be the largest new development project in Boston history.

The $3.5 billion project would transform 23 acres of surface parking
lots across from the J. Joseph Moakley U.S. Courthouse into a new
neighborhood of 5,000 residents.

Hynes wants to start work later this year on a first phase of two
smaller residential buildings totaling 110 units, with 46,000 square
feet of shops and retail on the first two floors. There are also plans
to move and rebuild the Our Lady of Good Voyage Chapel on a nearby site.

³Not since the filling of the Back Bay has Boston had an opportuntiy
to create a new neighborhood,² Hynes¹ development team claims in plans
filed with the Boston Redevelopment Authority. ³Seaport Square in
South Boston will be Boston¹s first 21st century neighborhood.²

Hynes hopes to start work on the project¹s second phase in 2010.

That includes most of Seaport Square¹s 2,500 residential units, 1.4
million square feet of office and lab space, 1.25 million square feet
of retail, and a 700-room hotel.

There are also plans for a pair of schools for 2,000 students - a
public, pre-K early learning center for 200 students and a private
school for another 1,800 children.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Herald Article on Stolen "Windows onto Fort Point" Pieces

’Window’ pain: Artists seek return of stolen pieces
By Eva Wolchover | Saturday, June 7, 2008 | |

Hub pols and artists living in South Boston’s Fort Point neighborhood are pleading for the return of ‘Window’ pain: Artists seek return of artwork featuring 25 windows hung along a fenceline.

The installation, titled “Windows onto Fort Point - the Artists Point of View,” was organized by the Fort Point Cultural Coalition and features various artists’ takes on the gentrification of the waterfront neighborhood.

“It’s unfortunate that that occured,” said Boston City Councilor Bill Linehan. “Those pieces of work are privately owned and publicly displayed for our enjoyment, so whoever has them should give them back.”

Three windows were taken late Saturday, but one was returned anonymously the following night, said project organizers. Boston police are investigating.

“What we’re hoping is that somebody thought they were beautiful and has them on their wall,” said Joanne Kaliontzis of the Fort Point Cultural Coalition. “We’d hate it if someone just maliciously took them away and destroyed them.”

Jacob Higginbottom, one of the artists whose work was stolen, said he was saddened by the theft and hopes that his piece - titled “Eyes of the Neighborhood” - also will be returned.

“It would be nice if the person who took it would return in anonymously, no questions aked,” he said.

All the purloined works are uninsured, said FPCC president Anita Lauricella, but some artists have received offers from potential buyers. Higginbottom said he typically sells his art for $800 to $2,200.

Lauricella said said the theft won’t stop the FPCC from planning future outdoor public art projects.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Meeting on Proposed Heliport in South Boston, 6/9

Did you know that more air and noise pollution may be coming to our community?

That is, if the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) can successfully push forward its proposal to bring another heliport toSouth Boston. Unfortunately, our past experience with a heliport is a regretful reminder of how the BRA and city officials turned a blind eye to our needs. So, why now has the BRA decided to move forward and select a company to operate a South Boston heliport that hasn't been reviewed by the community? And perhaps more importantly, why are so many of us in the dark about this important quality of life issue?

Join me on Monday, June 9th, at 6:30 p.m. at the Condon School to openly discuss the community impact of a South Bostonheliport. I look forward to seeing you and listening to your concerns.

Boston City Councilor, At-Large
For more information, please contact 617-635-4205.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

James Hook Looking to Rebuild

Lobster firm aims to stay open after fire
City to consider interim quarters

By John C. Drake, Globe Staff | June 3, 2008

City officials will meet today with the owners of the James Hook & Co. lobster business to discuss ways to keep the iconic waterfront establishment open for business in temporary quarters, perhaps with a retail tent or trailer on the site of its burned building and a wholesale operation in the city's Marine Industrial Park.

Investigators have wrapped up their on-site probe of the burned-out lobster warehouse on the corner of Atlantic and Northern avenues, but by yesterday they had not determined the cause of Friday's fire, said Boston Fire Department spokesman Steve MacDonald.

Even as the investigation continued and demolition crews prepared to tear down wreckage at the site yesterday, the business of buying and selling fresh lobsters continued. Employees of the family-owned business took orders and arranged shipments with the help of two lobster firms at the city's Marine Industrial Park. The owners have vowed to rebuild on their original site, among Boston office towers.

Within a day of the fire, competitor PJ Lobster offered tank space for the storage of live lobsters, and distributor Nagle Seafood offered office space at the Marine Industrial Park.

With those basic elements in place, at least temporarily, the wholesale business was brisk, one of James Hook's co-owner's said.

Hook family members said their building was insured and would be rebuilt, but they were not sure if the $750,000 to $1 million of lobsters lost in the fire would be covered. Yesterday, they were selling fresh lobsters brought in Sunday.

"We're conducting the wholesale end of the business as usual," Al Hook said. "It was pretty hectic getting set up in the new office and the new facility for the packing of lobster, but overall it's been a pretty good day business-wise."

About five employees are working out of the borrowed office space, assuring customers the 83-year-old family business will continue to fill orders.

Hook said the business was still hoping to bring back all of its dozen or so employees to work in the temporary digs.

The retail side of the business, which offered customers a look at some of the lobster shipped in from Maine and Canada, along with fresh lobster rolls and dinners, was closed. Al Hook said owners are hoping the city will allow the a temporary retail store, either in one of the smaller buildings left standing at the site or in a trailer or tent.

"I hope they will," he said. "They promised to help us any way they could."

Susan Elsbree, a spokeswoman for the Boston Redevelopment Authority, said that as long as the site is safe, the city would be open to expediting the permitting for such an arrangement.

In the immediate aftermath of the fire, Mayor Thomas M. Menino promised to help the company's rebuilding, calling it an icon in the city.

"The mayor has asked us to do whatever we can on all fronts to ensure that their distribution, their office, and their retail needs are addressed," Elsbree said.

She said BRA officials would meet today with James Hook & Co. officials to discuss possible sites at the city-owned Marine Industrial Park for longer term temporary office and storage space.

While the other lobster businesses have been "overwhelmingly generous," Elsbree said, she said it was not clear how long they would be able to keep up that level of assistance. While the details still are being worked out, the city will probably offer space in the park for free or at minimal cost, she said.

It took more than 135 firefighters, a scuba team and a Massachusetts Port Authority fireboat to douse the 7-alarm fire, reported at about 3 a.m. Friday.

The investigation into the fire continued with assistance from Boston police and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, MacDonald said.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Outdoor Movie Tonight: Ratatouille

Fort Point Stage presents the 2008
Fort Point Outdoor Movie Series

Join us for a moonlit screening of


Tuesday June 3, 2008 at 9:00 PM, Wormwood Park
(corner of Wormwood Street and A Street)

visit for info and complete schedule


directed by Brad Bird

Remy is a young rat in the French countryside who arrives in Paris, only to find out that his cooking idol is dead. When he makes an unusual alliance with a restaurant's new garbage boy, the culinary and personal adventures begin despite Remy's family's skepticism and the rat-hating world of humans. Oscar for Best Animated Feature, AFI Best Picture. [imdb]


See you at the movies!!!

Steve Hollinger
Fort Point Stage