An important component of the planning for the South Boston waterfront is the protection and enhancement of Boston’s marine industrial park (MIP) for maritime industrial and industrial activity. In furtherance of this goal, the Boston Redevelopment Authority (“BRA”) and EDIC developed a master plan in 1999 that established a framework for future development within the MIP and included a specific process for review of future projects under the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Review Act (MEPA) and chapter 91, while also providing a flexible framework to attract new and existing industries that can provide attractive job opportunities for Boston residents.
An updated MIP master plan offers the BPDA an opportunity to analyze the changes and challenges to this part of the Boston Harbor and to plot out a course for the next ten years. Since the Master Plan was finalized and the Master Chapter 91 License was issued, there have been numerous changes made to the MIP. Examples range from investments in seafood processing and motor freight facilities, to a dramatic increase in new job growth sectors of life tech, green tech and other research and development tenants. This district is undergoing an extraordinary transformation into a varied mix of uses including industrial and port operations predominating in the eastern areas and mixed commercial and residential uses in the west. While there are many successes in the MIP, there remain numerous vacant, undesignated or underutilized parcels and structures. There is also significant maritime infrastructure that has degraded to a point where it is very difficult to attract maritime industrial uses.
Long range plans for the MIP call for a mixture of maritime industrial and related uses such as seafood processing, cruises, bulk cargo operations and waterborne cargo warehouses supported by the necessary road and utility infrastructure, waterfront marine infrastructure and future direct rail access. Because of the MIP’s proximity to deep draft navigation channels (40-foot deep berthing), designated truck routes including the South Boston bypass road, the interstate highway system and potential rail connections, as well as its distance from residential neighborhoods, the site is well suited for these uses. Other uses for backland parcels include general industrial, manufacturing, research and development and supporting commercial uses.