After months of intense discussion, the Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) approved three of the four final proposals to activate the Navy Yard this summer – including a proposal to put a Tall Ship restaurant in Dry Dock #2.
Mayor Martin Walsh and the Friends of the Navy Yard said the activation proposals would serve to liven up the Yard and provide a revenue stream to make improvements.
“By bringing activities for people of all ages to the Navy Yard, we hope to encourage a more inclusive and equitable waterfront for Boston’s residents and visitors to enjoy,” said Mayor Walsh. “The Navy Yard is a place of national historic significance, and we are pleased with the creative proposals we received and the selections that will be moving forward this summer. We look forward to continuing to work with the community to ensure that the Navy Yard is a welcoming public space, while celebrating and respecting its history.”
Parker added that the activation proposals would bring more people to the Navy Yard from Charlestown and from Boston.
“Friends of the Charlestown Navy Yard is excited to see the implementation of the activation and programming initiatives,” said Michael Parker, Chairperson of the Friends of the Charlestown Navy Yard, “The initiatives selected will highlight the Navy Yard’s maritime culture and the outdoor activities will bring the Charlestown community together along its beautiful waterfront.”
The proposals will operate on a trial period from May to October. Following the trial period, the BPDA will work with the community to assess the success of the programming. License agreements for the selected partners will expire at the end of October. However, the BPDA stressed that a license could be revoked at any time if the activity is becoming a problem for the neighborhood.
The three proposals approved last week include:
•An outdoor community gathering space with activities for residents and visitors of all ages, along with beer and wine service, will be sponsored by the Anthem Group. Activities will include exercise classes, performing arts events, movie nights, photography classes, family educational programs, and more. The pop-up space will move to different locations throughout Navy Yard over the course of the summer.
•The Navy Yard’s USS Constitution Museum will offer free outdoor programming by bringing historical exhibits and signage outside of their current location to the new Dry Dock #2. The BPDA is supporting the USS Constitution with a $10,000 grant.
•A tall ship, operated by the Charlestown-based Navy Yard Hospitality Group (owners of Pier 6 and the Reel House) will temporarily dock and be converted into a floating restaurant. The 245-foot long ship will include an artistic lighting installation connecting to Shipyard Park.
A fourth proposal for kayaks has not been approved yet, mainly over a dispute regarding infrastructure for the kayak rental location in the Yard.
BPDA Spokesperson Bonnie McGilpin said the operator could only move forward if the Agency funded or created infrastructure for the rental location. The operator also wanted a multi-year licenses. Since that was outside the scope, they are considering other alternatives.
“We are currently exploring releasing a new RFP specifically for kayak rentals in hopes of being able to deliver on this idea this summer,” she said.
For the other three, the BPDA has negotiated a rent structure which requires each revenue generating proposal to set aside a significant percentage of their gross sales for free public programming and investments in the public open spaces. The BPDA has recently launched a new website on the history of Navy Yard Planning.