Photo courtesy of the BPDA

Officials at the Boston Planning & Development Agency have rejected all three proposals to redevelop Pier 5 in the Charlestown Navy Yard amid intense neighborhood opposition and questions about proposals’ viability.

“The three proposals we received took extremely creative approaches to the challenges posed by the site. The BPDA is very grateful for the extensive time and effort each team took to respond. However, we have determined that they are not the right approach for this site at this time,” an email from the BPDA to community members stated last month.

Two of the proposals – from developers 6M Development and Urban Spaces – pitching floating houses in place of the largely-dilapidated pier raised “serious” safety concerns, the BPDA wrote. The third proposal, from Jamaica Plain-based Urbanica, for a 100 percent affordable housing complex was declared “extremely challenging” to finance due to the high per-unit costs generated by demolishing and rebuilding a new pier on the site of Pier 5. The letter also raised concerns about the long-term viability of building homes on a non-floating pier in the face of sea level rise driven by climate change.

Neighbors had earlier panned all three plans, criticizing Urbanica’s for its height – it would add a 45-foot-tall building in front of the Flagship Wharf condominium building, where units routinely sell for $1 million or more, obstructing its views of the harbor and the downtown skyline. The other, shorter floating proposals came in for criticism for not offering sufficient public access to the waterfront, a charge the BPDA’s message to community members also echoed.

Instead, the Pier 5 Association neighborhood group had urged the city to plan a park for the site, instead. City officials endorsed that idea “enthusiastically” if private dollars could be marshalled for the project, with a caveat.

“At this time neither the BPDA nor the City of Boston have plans to spend public funds to finance a park at Pier 5,” the agency’s email says. “It is important to note that Navy Yard is already well served by public open space (e.g. Shipyard Park, Pier 4, Menino Park, and the Navy Yard National Historic Park) and there are areas in Charlestown, as well as other neighborhoods within the City of Boston, that are in greater need for public funding for park creation.”

The BPDA said it plans to digest community feedback and consult with Mayor Michelle Wu’s administration while figuring out the next steps for Pier 5’s future.

BPDA Dumps Plans for Charlestown Pier Redevelopment

by James Sanna time to read: 2 min