Everett Mayor Carlo DeMaria and a Beacon Hill lawmaker defended legislation that could accelerate redevelopment of a 43-acre waterfront parcel including a potential professional soccer stadium.
DeMaria said the city of Everett wants a mixed-use development on the site that would include no on-site parking, relying on public transit such as the MBTA Silver Line Extension.
“Transportation is the key so we can do more housing and restaurants and hotels, and if you do have a stadium, that’s great, too. I’m just trying to get the most jobs and the most [environmental] clean-up for the city,” he said.
Constellation Energy is marketing the Alford Street parcel on the Boston and Everett line as it prepares to shut down the power plant’s final two operating units in 2024. DeMaria said Encore Boston Harbor parent Wynn Resorts is “definitely going to be a bidder” on the Constellation Energy property, potentially as a master developer. Wynn received Massachusetts Gaming Commission approval in March for a nearly 1,000-seat concert hall and parking garage just north of the power plant property.
Wynn spokesman Michael Weaver declined to comment.
An amendment in the House of Representatives’ version of an economic development bill, sponsored by state Rep. Daniel Ryan, D-Boston, removes the property from a Mystic River designated port area and would allow a “sports, recreation or events center.” The Kraft Group has long sought a stadium site in the Boston area for its New England Revolution professional soccer team, which currently plays at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough.
Conservation Law Foundation criticized lawmakers for “backroom, dead-of-night legislative mischief.” Developers and municipalities typically submit proposed DPA changes to the state Office of Coastal Zone Management, which issues a ruling after a public comment period.
“Developers don’t want to be held up with years of government processes,” DeMaria said, noting that the redevelopment would be subject to review by Everett officials. “They’re going to have to shock and awe us. It’s got to be something that the city can’t say no to.”
Ryan said he filed the amendment at the city of Everett’s request.
“This is a way to keep it commercial, but a different commercial-type use that’s not water-dependent,” the Charlestown Democrat said this week. “I understand peoples’ concerns that they don’t trust us or trust the city to do this without the state oversight. But I believe we are trying to get to the same place. We want something better than what’s there now.”
Environmental organization Boston Harbor Now also weighed in this week with its objections.
The organization pointed to its 2019 report that suggested innovative ideas for economic development in designated port areas, including wind turbine development and manufacturing, “blue tech” startup space and maritime education.
“This deep water site is particularly well suited to active maritime uses because the large parcels and existing industrial operations can support new port uses. Keeping it within DPA boundaries opens up the potential for an array of exciting water-dependent options that creates jobs and strengthens Greater Boston’s connection to the global maritime economy,” CEO Kathy Abbott said in a statement.
Like DeMaria, Ryan acknowledged the need for transportation upgrades to accommodate a large-scale redevelopment of the site including upgrades to bus service, and progress on the city of Boston’s long-time plans to redesign traffic patterns around Sullivan Square.
“You can’t do anything over there until we fix Sullivan Square,” Ryan said.
The MBTA is reviewing several options for the route of the Silver Line Extension from Chelsea to Everett and surrounding communities.
DeMaria said the current legislation would accelerate the transformation of the industrial waterfront, as the city seeks to attract industries such as biomanufacturing, life science, green technology and hospitality.
Everett officials have positioned the Lower Broadway industrial area as a future “destination district” capitalizing on the proximity of the Encore Boston Harbor casino, which opened in 2019.
The Kraft Group did not respond to inquiries.
Editor’s note: This report has been updated with comment from Boston Harbor Now.