One of the first pieces in a very large, complicated puzzle is moving into place.
According to Jon Chesto of the Boston Globe, the New Boston Food Market cooperative has won the bidding for a 3.4-acre parcel of land on the very edge of the Seaport District. The cooperative will lease the land from the EDIC, controlled by the Boston Planning and Development Agency, who will remain the landlord.
The cooperative is currently located in Widett Circle, about a mile away from the Terminal. They control 20 acres of land, down there, so will need to add to their Seaport holdings if they’ll be making a complete move. That may or may not be possible. Massport owns the land surrounding the cooperative’s new home, and, according to its most recent statements, want to hold onto their remaining landholdings (although I can’t say for sure I even understand what’s going on).
If the Boston Food Market moves out of Widett Circle, then that area would become ripe for development. The cooperative is partnering with John Hynes and Boston Global Investors on its move to the Seaport, so presumably there is some sort of agreement in place that his company would be in charge of turning those parcels into a large, multi-use project, (very) similar to what he did with Seaport Square.
While that seems like a pretty straightforward plan – selling one parcel of and and moving to another – there are multiple layers of complexity. For one, there have been nascent plans to run a railway from Back Bay Boston down around Widett Circle and up past the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center (BCEC) into the Seaport. How the sale of the cooperative would affect those plans is unknown.
Also in the works are proposals for the state to buy the US Postal Service Annex next to South Station for a train track / storage expansion; the state to expand the BCEC up the street; the state to sell off land where a huge power plant was located, on Kneeland Street; rezoning the land between Andrew Square and Broadway MBTA stations to include mixed-uses including residential housing; and, (today), the re-emergence of plans to change / improve transportation along Summer Street, which connects them all.
See you in half a century when we can discuss what ended up actually happening, if anything.