JW Capital Partners and the DeNormandie Corporation have developed plans to build a large-scale luxury hotel at the end of Lewis Wharf. This new development would:
- Privatize public tidelands by extending several hundred feet into Boston Harbor
- Effectively wall off the waterfront from the North End
- Create 300 new luxury hotel rooms, the 4th largest luxury hotel in the entire city of Boston (From Boston Redevelopment Authority's “Annual Report: Hotels in Boston 2014,” p. 13.)
- Triple the number of hotel rooms in the North End (From Boston Redevelopment Authority's “Annual Report: Hotels in Boston 2014,” p. 13.)
This large-scale development project would jeopardize our neighborhood and Harbor. The community is ready, willing and able to work in support of a proposal that demonstrates sensitivity to our unique and historic waterfront neighborhood. This is not such a proposal.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Is the proposed hotel the only way to improve the state of disrepair at the end of Lewis Wharf?
There is no argument that the area at the end of Lewis Wharf is in disarray, and the neighborhood supports that fact. However, constructing two large hotel buildings is not the only or best way to take care of the current issues. Rather, a large hotel will create a number of new problems, including traffic, congestion, noise, view obstruction and density that will be totally out of proportion with the existing neighborhood.
Additionally, the proposed Lewis Wharf hotel—according to the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs and several environmentalists—would increase the dangerous impacts of climate change. The proposed development would be right in the center of the projected storm surge bulls-eye. This means—in addition to increased flooding—more destructive waves and unprecedented challenges in an already-vulnerable velocity zone. According to the Conversation Law Foundation's Peter Shelley, "In a lot of ways, it's worse than a parking lot."
Wouldn’t it be great for the neighborhood to have a park on Lewis Wharf?
The community should not accept a bad project for the false promise of a park. This large-scale project will in fact wall off any public open space from the Harbor. Any remaining park will be unlikely because the hotel must provide parking for Lewis Wharf, two lanes of traffic to the end of the pier, access and turnaround space for emergency vehicles, ramps in and out of the underground garage, and a large two story servicing building for the garage.
What about the argument that this project will improve the harborwalk and improve access to the water?
With or without a project, the current landowner has a legal obligation to maintain his section of the harborwalk. His negligence in maintaining the harborwalk should not be financially rewarded with a large-scale development project.
The current proposal would requite that the public will or should have to go to the end of the pier and walk around a luxury hotel in order to see the Harbor. It would drastically reduce residents and visitors’ access to the water from Atlantic Avenue, along the historic piers, and at the edge of the Harbor. Whereas a low-scale water dependent development at this site, like a marina, would preserve the neighborhood’s experience of the Harbor.
In addition, the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, the Boston Harbor Association, the Conservation Law Foundation, and President Barack Obama’s chief science advisor all have concerns about the proposed Lewis Wharf luxury hotel project’s impact on climate change preparedness on Boston’s waterfront.
What does the neighborhood want on this site instead of the hotel?
There is a great deal of interest in developing a low-scale park and marina on this site. Water dependent uses and marine uses are more appropriate for these historic piers. Lewis Wharf, as a particularly vulnerable part of the City of Boston, should remain a place for cautious development that mitigates the predicted impacts of climate change while serving the neighborhood’s unique needs and interests.