r Letter From Eastie: Drat these student loans. . .
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Collaged view of Boston, from East Boston

Letter From Eastie

News and other items from East Boston, Massachusetts.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Drat these student loans. . .

If only it were not for the 30 years worth of payments left on my student loans then I might actually be able to think about buying a condo, although I'm guessing that even without the student loans the new condos at Clippership Wharf will not be in my price range. The Globe's real estate section describes four of the new wharf projects going up in on Boston's waterfront locations including Eastie.
Developer Roger Cassin predicts the views and nascent arts community of East Boston will make it the next locus of urban chic, and is building the 400-unit Clippership Wharf, located just three blocks from the Maverick MBTA stop. While acknowledging his debt to Rowes Wharf, Cassin points out the marketing edge he believes East Boston has: ''Would you rather be in the Financial District looking at East Boston, or in East Boston looking back toward the skyline?"

True to the guidelines of the East Boston Municipal Harbor Plan, the buildings at Clippership Wharf are set back to allow a ''green ribbon" of publicly accessible parkland along their perimeter. Prominent features will be a central cove for leisure craft and ferries to Boston and artists' housing that will open up onto an Arts Lawn for informal exhibitions.

While the wharf buildings will be set on infilled land, the Commonwealth has allowed such sites clear title, a law harkening back to Colonial times, and an important consideration for prospective condo buyers.

''When you get a license to create land, you own it," Cassin said. ''The condo owner at Clippership will have title just as if it were a lot in Brookline."

Cassin's architect, David Hancock of CBT/Childs Bertman Tseckares, said he drew inspiration from the Rowes Wharf design, as evidenced by the Clippership buildings' massing, which at the extreme waterfront ''steps down," thus forming balconies on certain prime units.

''Not that we were copying, but it was just the obvious answer to keep the open feeling and encourage public access," Hancock said.

At least one of the current crop of luxury waterfront housing schemes is eschewing the Rowes Wharf model -- developer Philip DeNormandie's Hodge Boiler Works project, to be located on the East Boston waterfront near Clippership Wharf.

''Unlike the projects with finger piers, this one is on terra firma," said John Tittmann of Albert, Righter & Tittmann, architect of the 116-unit building. ''But it will have the same setbacks and public access." The original boiler works were razed to make way for the new building, Tittmann said, although the design will pay homage to its industrial roots with elements like glass-block windows and extra-wide window bays.

Current denizens of waterfront living seem to welcome the new developments. Melanie d'Orio has lived for three years at Lincoln Wharf, converted from an old power plant on Commercial Street in the North End. She says it affords her family a chance to smell the briny sea air and relax to the throaty sound of tugboat horns, unachievable luxuries elsewhere.

''We couldn't get anything with a harbor view in Marblehead for less than $1.5 million," she said. ''My son is only 10 months old, but I think 'boat' will be his first word."
Ah well, I'm sure I'll enjoy the "'green ribbon' of publicly accessible parkland along their perimeter."


  • At 1:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Yeah, and you can enjoy that "Arts Lawn". Oh wait, there won't be artists in Eastie anymore once all the rich people move in! Silly me!
    Just moved within Eastie recently so I got to chat with many a broker, developer, and propery owner, all peeing themselves with excitement over the new high-end restaurants that will surely line my current neighborhood in about 10 years. Why doesn't anyone else find it sad? It feels good to know there's still a place in Boston that we non-rich folk can afford to get a water view and pleasant walk to the T. It feels bad to know that it won't last.


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