South Boston project could offer views of water, and 18-wheelers

The Boston Globe | By Tim Logan
May 10, 2017

The redevelopment of the L Street Power Station will take industrial chic to another level.

The project slated for a grimy stretch of the South Boston waterfront will include renovations to Turbine Hall, a century-old building at the heart of the power plant with a soaring interior, a multistory arched window, and intricate tiling and brickwork. The site also looks onto what’s left of Boston’s working waterfront and the harbor’s Reserved Channel.

Water views from the complex, however, could feature hundreds of heavy trucks a day on a new freight road connecting the nearby Conley Shipping Terminal with the Summer Street bridge. The Massachusetts Port Authority is building the $75 million haul road to remove traffic from East First Street.

The haul road is the sort of complication more real estate projects face as development pushes deeper into odd and underused industrial corners of the city, forcing builders to get creative with how they use space. The power plant’s development team, Redgate Partners and Hilco Global, are still designing the components for the 15-acre site, which will probably be a mix of apartments, offices, retail, and park space.

A rendering released by the developers shows a boardwalk and grassy promenade on the side of property facing the Reserved Channel; a sliver of what appears to be the haul road, sans trucks, is visible in the corner. Preliminary plans include an outdoor market or theater along the waterfront — within earshot of trucks. Design plans filed with the city speak of “buffering” the project from the haul road, though it’s not yet clear exactly how.

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