What could $1 billion do for Widett Circle?

The Boston Globe | By Shirley Leung
September 2, 2016

Widett CircleIn the year since Boston’s Olympics dream went poof, state Representative Nick Collins hasn’t stopped thinking about what could have been.

Not about dressage at Franklin Park or the athletes’ village at Columbia Point, but about that deck over Widett Circle that would have unleashed millions of square feet of development opportunities.

While the future of Widett remains up in the air, Collins and state Senator Linda Dorcena Forry have been pressing the city and state to look at the potential of a deck over the nearby Red Line tracks and Cabot Yard in South Boston that could similarly spur new development.

Last week the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority gave the go-ahead to study selling air rights of its property next to Widett Circle by the West 4th Street bridge. MBTA officials aim to make a recommendation in December.

Like the Olympic proposal for Widett, this project would be complicated and would probably involve a developer building an expensive platform over active rail lines. The estimate for the Widett deck was roughly $1 billion.

For Collins, a lifelong Southie resident, the T study is a way to keep alive the Olympic dream of creating a new neighborhood in South Boston. In the city’s bid for the 2024 Summer Games, Widett Circle was to be the home of a temporary Olympic stadium that would later be redeveloped into “Midtown,” a transit-oriented district with retail and housing.

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