BRA Head Outlines Key City Projects

At its monthly member-ship meeting last week, the Downtown North Association welcomed Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) Director Peter Meade, who provided an optimistic outlook on the future of the city.

“We want a city where people work, live and enjoy themselves – a city that people are proud of,” Meade said. “I think we have a great future. I think our inclination in the city is to work together.”

One recent coup for the city is Vertex Pharmaceuticals’ plans to move its headquarters in the “Innovation District” on the South Boston waterfront, which Meade said is the largest privately financed project in the U.S.

Meade said the BRA has also approved the Pier 4 project and another 1,000 units of housing for the waterfront, both of which are slated for groundbreaking before the end of the second quarter of 2012.

The city is also looking to activate the East Boston waterfront, which includes plans for water shuttle service between East Boston and the South Boston, Meade said.

Elsewhere in the city, the Ferdinand Building in Dudley Square will be transformed into the new headquarters for the Boston Public Schools. The neighborhood is also home to a new police station, which opened this summer.

“There’s an awful lot going on in Dudley Square now,” Meade said.

Regarding the gutted former site of the Filene’s department store in Downtown Crossing, Meade said the city is presently having conversations with New York’s Vornado Realty Trust to try to move the project forward.

“I understand how important this is to the city,” Meade added.

Meade said the city is also working with the Clarendon Group, the Dublin-based realty company that owns the Washington Street building formerly occupied by Borders book store, to attract “new and significant retailers” to that location.

Of particular interest to residents of Beacon Hill and the West End, Meade said the city is hoping to attract a super market to the Bulfinch Triangle and is also trying to identify a location for a new public school.

Meanwhile, Meade emphasized the need for the state to invest in the city’s public transportation system.

“If we have a state that doesn’t continue to invest in public transportation, we’re slitting our wrists,” Meade said.

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