There are two large parcels of land down in the Seaport District – one area is controlled by the Pritzker family and the other by Frank McCourt, previously the owner of the Boston Red Sox, now owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers (and, therefore, an absentee landlord).
The city is now threatening to take back the permits they’ve granted on the Pritzker property, which would of course damage the perceived market value of those parcels.
The Pritzkers should be afraid that the city does much more than that, seeing how the Supreme Court just said cities can take privately owned land, at will, and sell it to other private developers. Mm hmm.
From the Globe:
Mayor Thomas M. Menino yesterday threatened to challenge the valuable city approvals the owners of Fan Pier have been granted on their property, and even their ability to continue making millions parking cars on the land, unless they move quickly to spur development on what has long been considered the jewel of the South Boston Waterfront.
In a letter and in an interview, Menino made it clear that his patience has run out with the Pritzker family, the Chicago owners of the Fan Pier for the past two decades, and that he is willing to use a stick to force the sale of the 21 acres of land that has become a symbol of disappointment on the waterfront.
”Why can’t we develop anything? Why can’t it move forward? What is the problem?" Menino said in an interview. ”I think they are procrastinating. They are saying, ‘Someday when we are ready.’ It is not when they are ready. It is about the city — jobs, housing, and revenue."
The Boston Redevelopment Authority was supportive of the Pritzkers through a difficult four-year permitting process. But in a letter yesterday at Menino’s behest to Spaulding & Slye Colliers, the Boston consultant to the Pritzkers, BRA director Mark Maloney said the city is ”exploring its options," in particular whether those permits for about 3 million square feet of office, residential, and hotel space may soon lapse. Under Boston’s zoning regulations the city approvals can be reviewed under certain circumstances if a project does not get underway within three years. That three-year period would expire in November, the BRA says.
Source: Menino threatens Fan Pier permits – The Boston Globe