Fan Pier is the part of South Boston closest to downtown Boston, and a key site in Boston's redevelopment plans. Contrary to what its name suggests, it is mostly landfill, not a platform supported by pilings. The larger part of the pier (the part touching the water) belongs to the Pritzker family of Chicago, while a smaller parcel behind that belongs to Frank McCourt. The planning and environmental communities have been urging that the pier be developed as a whole rather than piecemeal, and as a civic destination, with mixed use, public space, etc, rather than as an office park. To that end (and also, no doubt, in order to provide his future tenants with water views), McCourt teamed up with the Conservation Law Foundation to propose a scheme in which his and the Pritzkers' parcels would be "co-developed" -- in effect, treated as a single property -- with a large park by the water and with lower building heights adjacent to the park. One day later the Pritzkers, with the support of the Boston Redevelopment Authority and Mayor Menino, angrily dismissed the McCourt/CLF proposal and declared their intention to go ahead with their original plan, involving the building of a slender strip of green on the water backed with 300 foot towers (the legal limit), back-to-back all the way to their property line.
For an earlier comment on the redevelopment of the Fan Pier area, see my June 26, 1999 cartoon.
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