The Boston Globe | By Adrian Walker
September 29, 2016
Even as he surveys Boston from his office above the Seaport District, Jon Cronin’s voice bears the unmistakable lilt of his native County Cork, Ireland.
It was there that he began his improbable rise from accidental immigrant to developer. Cronin came to Boston for a visit 26 years ago. He was just passing through for a week or so, visiting some buddies, on his way to Australia. He stayed when he found out how much cash he could pocket in a day’s work as a house painter. Australia could wait.
“It was tons of money — in cash,” Cronin says with a hearty laugh. “Twenty-six years later, here we are. What a great city.”
Cronin now finds himself in the center of a dispute that has implications for the development of the Seaport District. His company would like to replace two old-school bars — Whiskey Priest and Atlantic Beer Garden — with a 22-story condominium development. The winding, corkscrew-shaped building he has proposed looks like nothing else on the waterfront; it is a direct response to Mayor Marty Walsh’s call for more distinctive design in the neighborhood.