Plans to Transform City Hall Plaza into a ‘Winter Garden’ Unveiled

Coming later this year.

Image via Boston Garden Development

Image via Boston Garden Development

There’s no Ferris wheel, but there are more chalets than you’ll know what to do with.

City officials announced Wednesday a three-year deal with Boston Garden Development—owners of TD Garden and a subsidiary of Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs’ Delaware North Companies—to transform City Hall Plaza’s much-maligned, underutilized brick expanses into a “winter garden,” starting this year.

The plans call for 40 to 50 temporary vendor stalls, or “chalets,” to be erected at the corner of the plaza along Cambridge Street, forming a “European-inspired holiday shopping market. There will also be a custom-designed, 11,000-square-foot ice-skating path, the first of its kind in New England, city officials said.

“I am pleased about this important next step in our efforts to activate City Hall Plaza, and I thank the Boston Garden Development Corporation for their partnership and creativity in this effort,” Mayor Marty Walsh said in a statement. “This endeavor is the beginning of a joint venture that will help transform the plaza into a year-round destination, inviting the people of Boston to see the plaza come to life in new and exciting ways.”

Boston Garden Development’s proposal, which beat out two competing bids, originally included an”iconic observation wheel” with an attached full-service restaurant. TD Garden president Amy Latimer told the Globe that structural concerns due to the tunnels beneath City Hall Plaza have placed the wheel on hold, though it isn’t off the table yet.

The winter garden would be open to the public from Thanksgiving until the last week of February, with many vendors packing up after the Christmas rush. Delaware North, which also operates the outdoor rink at Rockefeller Plaza in New York City, would cover the upfront costs to install the improvements, and expects to sell around 50,000 tickets for the ice-skating path, in addition to youth hockey games and corporate events.