The Boston Globe | By Dan Adams
September 7, 2016
City Hall Plaza is set to host a skating path, beer garden, and dozens of shopping and food stalls this winter, after the owners of the TD Garden and city officials on Tuesday finalized a three-year contract to breathe new life into the under-used civic space at the core of downtown Boston.
The plan by the Boston Garden Development Corp., a subsidiary of Delaware North Cos., calls for an ice-skating path and 40 to 50 holiday market vendor stalls — temporary shacks dubbed “chalets” — to be installed in the corner of the plaza along Cambridge Street, beginning in late October.
The area would open to the public on the Friday following Thanksgiving and operate until the last week of February, though most of the vendors would close down on December 31 as the holiday shopping season winds down.
“We’re really excited to get up and running,” said Amy Latimer, the president of TD Garden. “The city has a number of great events they host out there, and we’re trying to improve them and augment them by adding these wonderful amenities. And when there’s downtime, it’s a destination for people who live in the city and visitors.”
However, the company appears to be scaling back its original plans for events during warm-weather months. Earlier this year Delaware North presented a conceptual vision that included an “iconic observation wheel” with enclosed, climate-controlled gondolas and a full-service restaurant. The company’s proposal beat out two other firms bidding for the plaza contract.
Latimer said the observation, or Ferris, wheel is being held up by concerns that tunnels under the plaza could make it structurally unsound. She also said the high up-front cost of the observation wheel would require a longer-term deal than the three-year contract it has with the city to be economically viable.