Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A New Waterfront Plan (Again)

Deja Vu.


The (almost) final draft for the waterfront plan is almost complete. I'm not sure what that means given I can recall dozens of these waterfront plans floating around over the past several years.

I still don't see how this plan is going to generate the money it needs to work. And I don't see where all these phantom mid-rise buildings are coming from. With all the vacant lots and surface parking in Center City, I can't imagine why developers would eye the waterfront or why residents would choose to live here, especially if they are removing the concert venue space which is perhaps the neighborhood's only financial draw.

I feel like we've heard all this before.

A trained monkey can draw up some renderings, but what I want to hear are the financial logistics for this fifity year plan.

"Gee, don't be so negative. Civic plans that span half a century always work out. Especially when the bulk of it relies on private real estate investment."

Why can't we just start small, piece by piece? Keep what is moderately successful: the venue space, the Seaport Museum, the historic ships, The Chart House, etc., and focus on the weed-filled litter boxes that haven't yet been developed.

I don't understand why this has to be one massive, cohesive plan. Why can't it evolve organically like the rest of the city? I don't see anyone developing a "Civic Plan for the Convention Center District" where we have a sea of parking lots, and that is only two blocks from City Hall and actually has an existing street life.

We should tackle what we can when we can. Planning a half century of speculative development for a huge tract of land won't go anywhere. We'll wind up with just another incarnation of the moderately successful waterfront that we have now, 20 years from now. We need to add to what we have, not start over. Then if the additions prove successful, we improve the previously existing infrastructure with the money generated by the additions.

1 comment:

  1. This is the smartest comment on the waterfront and planning I've read in a long, long time.