Sunday, September 27, 2009

Russia Wharf Developer Under Fire for Removing Promised Public Space

Boston Properties recasting Russia Wharf plan amid outcry

Boston Business Journal - by Michelle Hillman

Boston Properties, under fire for allegedly reneging on a promise to produce ample public space at its Russia Wharf development, is back at the drawing board after a state agency said it wants more public amenities on the project’s ground floor.

The Boston Harbor Association has accused Boston Properties of abandoning its pledge to provide free public-performance space on the first floor of its Russia Wharf development, a story first reported by the Boston Business Journal earlier this week.

Earlier this year, after receiving approvals to build a much taller building in exchange for free, public amenities, Boston Properties filed a request with the DEP to instead locate a restaurant on the first floor. Critics said the developer is trying to cut off public access to the waterfront and save money.

DEP grants licenses to developers under Chapter 91 regulations which protect and promote public access to the waterfront.

Russia Wharf, which is under construction, was allowed to exceed height regulations that cap development along the waterfront at 155 feet.

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