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Waterfront Rezoning Could Throw Wrench In Plans For North-South Rail Link

BPDA Municipal Harbor Plan Site Massing of Hook Lobster Tower

UPDATE, Feb. 9, 3:25 P.M. ET: Due to inclement weather, the Boston Planning & Development Agency has moved tonight's February meeting and vote to March 2 at 3:30 P.M. 

The Boston Planning & Development Agency will vote tomorrow on a municipal harbor plan that would pave the way for two waterfront skyscrapers to move forward, agency spokesperson Bonnie McGilpin confirmed to Bisnow. Don Chiofaro’s stalled Harbor Garage tower is expected to limp ahead, as the outspoken developer has agreed to the 600-foot height limit placed on his property. However, it is a smaller proposal down Atlantic Avenue that could leave a bigger wake.

Should both the development agency and the state approve the zoning changes, it would become much easier to break ground on the proposed 305-foot tower at the James Hook & Co. seafood store, the Boston Globe reports. The site, adjacent to the dilapidated Northern Avenue Bridge, could halt the North-South Rail Link, as the deep foundation of the tower would extend into space set aside for the NSRL after Big Dig cost overruns made the tunnel a non-starter. This separate rail plan, identified in the NSRL’s Schematic Design Report, is an alternative to Gov. Charlie Baker’s preferred option of expanding South Station to accommodate increased rail traffic.

Officials at SKW Partners, the developer spearheading the project, and Elkus Manfredi, the architecture firm behind the tower, declined to comment. MassDOT spokesperson Patrick Marvin said, “At this time MassDOT is planning to launch a feasibility reassessment for a proposed North-South rail link and has no comment on the route such a proposed project would take if it were to be approved.”