By Matt Conti
The remake of City Hall Plaza took another step forward with a bid awarded to the owners of TD Garden, Delaware North / Boston Garden Development Corporation. Working with city officials, the private group will look to add new programming elements and amenities to the brick plaza.
The winning proposal includes an iconic 200-foot high Observation Wheel, complete with gondolas.Winter would bring an ice skating path while an urban beach would be set up for the summer. A new 2-story restaurant and beer garden would be built with a liquor license that would be run by Delaware North’s Patina Restaurant Group. More concerts would be held similar to the popular Boston Calling festivals. Coffee cafe stalls, interactive art exhibits and a large photo-friendly #BOSTON sign are also planned.
Year-round activities were emphasized in statements by Mayor Walsh and Delaware North’s CEO Charlie Jacobs. “I am confident that the City of Boston has a great partner in Boston Garden Development Corporation who will help us make the best use year-round of the space we have at City Hall Plaza,” said Mayor Walsh. CEO Jacobs added, “I am proud that the Boston Garden Development Corporation has been recognized for sharing the Mayor’s vision and that we are fully committed to a significant investment that will transform City Hall Plaza into a year-round destination. We’re looking forward to partnering with the city and exploring these proposed concepts, in collaboration with numerous local civic, arts and community organizations, to co-create and re-energize the plaza for the benefit of residents and visitors alike.”
Construction is expected to start in the Fall 2016. The City will work with the Boston Garden Development Corporation as part of a three-year contract. Private funding is expected for the project although sources were not disclosed other than fees on some of the Plaza activities. Renderings were released as part of the announcement by Delaware North, but no final concepts remain in flux according to city officials.
Not selected were The Anthem Group and Biederman Redevelopment Ventures. The Anthem Group proposed “Winter’s Landing” and “Summer’s Landing.” Winter’s Landing would have involved a skating rink and a large, 200 seat Polar Bar that could host dinners and events. Summer’s Landing would also have a dining option named City Bistro. Biederman, creator of Bryant Park in Manhattan, similarly proposed winter skating along with a variety of other features, including rights of way on certain parts of the Plaza.