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Setting the record straight on East Boston's waterfront development

by Robert Strelitz

A recent Globe article flashily titled Conundrum describes your humble reporter as being "dumbfounded."

Now, many things I have been during my stopover in this vale of tears, but dumbfounded, i.e. struck speechless by the turn of events or conditions, not so very much.

Usually, I'm accused by friends and others of being too damn talky.

The article, bylined Kathleen Pierce, says that I am President of East Boston PAC, inaccurately described as being tasked to advise Massachusetts Port Authority on waterfront development.

Wrong!

As I told Ms Pierce, PAC advises on maintenance and security of MassPort parks.

To report well, you must listen, best done with both ears.

That would, in fact, be my other group, WDAC, which waits with somewhat baited breath for the next sandwiches and sympathy meeting with MassPort and Roseland Property Company. They being the designated developers of the "Pier 1" or Port Slide (kidding,kidding), site.

On the good side, Roseland has finally come up with a lovely design for what they call building 7. This will be high-end rental, and, if successful, to be followed by a second, similar rental building.

Now, most of us at WDAC wanted to see "ownership", some kind of condo structuring on our precious waterfront.

Especially, at this site, the one with the best views, and MassPort muscle to back it up.

East Boston, however, has not exactly been identified with the luxury housing trend. To the bankers, we're Chelsea, but without Admiral's Hill.

Credit the Roseland folks with persevering through what has unquestionably been the worst housing crash in my lifetime.

The market remains rough going, with rental units the lone bright spot. Probably all those foreclosed homeowners, who were good renters, not so good at paying that nasty( and, possibly, fraudulent) mortgage note.

Back to Ms Pierce's little piece. She seems to imply that we in Eastie envy Southie and the North End waterfront.

Not me! Let us instead learn and benefit from their mistakes.

If our waterfront is the last to rise, let it also be the best.

Eastie deserves no less!

Robert Strelitz
Project Advisory Committee & Waterfront Development Advisory Committee

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