North End Residents Are Fuming Over Lewis Wharf Project

The proposed 277-room hotel has residents up in arms.

Planned hotel on Lewis Wharf. Rendering via Tiitman Architects

Planned hotel on Lewis Wharf. Rendering via Tiitman Architects

Fights over waterfront development in Boston are all the rage these days.

First came the ongoing downtown fight over Don Chiofaro’s plan to turn a gross concrete parking garage into two gleaming towers and open up the waterfront with a vibrant public space. Then came the grumbling about the Hook Lobster Company’s plan to replace their restaurant with a mostly residential 22-story tower.

We have a housing shortage in this city but clearly overblown fears about shadows, concerns about where people from the suburbs will park, and lost waterfront views are more important to some.

Now, it’s the North End’s chance to complain.

North End residents are fuming about a plan by JW Capital Partners to build a 55-foot, 277-room hotel on Lewis Wharf, a space that is mostly a dumpy parking lot. Walk down there and you’ll see it’s mostly rotted wood pilings surrounded by luxury condos, some green space, and the Boston Sailing Center.

The plan by JW Capital Partners calls for the construction of a new marina, refurbishment of the rotting wood pilings and decking, and the creawtion of a five-story hotel that extends over the water in two separate buildings that reference nearby structures. The project also includes a new park where the surface parking lot currently exists and the creation of a 380-space underground parking garage.

A larger project was approved for the site in the early 1990s but it never took off.

No financial figure on the estimated cost of the project is currently available.

The Boston Globe reported in June that the proposed project has been well received in City Hall.

“It’s attractive because it’s going to improve public access and views to the water,” said Richard McGuinness, deputy director for waterfront planning at the Boston Redevelopment Authority in an interview with the Globe.

A new report on Monday showed renewed opposition to the project in the waterfront neighborhood. Over 700 residents have signed a petition opposing the project and hired the high-powered government relations firm Northwind Strategies to fight the project.

“It’s really a residential neighborhood. We want to keep it that way, rather than a congested commercial zone,” said Jennifer Crampton, a North Resident who lives near the proposed project and is a member of Save Our North End Waterfront, a group opposing the project.

Earlier this month, North End residents voiced their strong displeasure with the Boston Redevelopment Authority’s plans to renew the urban renewal zone designation for much of the North End.