The trio responsible for bringing the Tall Ship restaurant to Dry Dock 2 this summer is excited to be able to activate the Navy Yard with a traditional boat, and is in the process of bringing that boat to the Yard from Toronto right now.
Two weeks ago, the Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) approved a temporary license for Balance Architects/Navy Yard Hospitality/The Nolan Group to carry out their plan to re-thinking the Navy Yard with lighting, wayfinding, some reorganizing and a docked Tall Ship that would accommodate a new restaurant concept.
Gregg Nolan said this week that the 245-foot 1947 Cooks and Welton Caledonia is currently in Toronto – though it is originally from Halifax – and Navy Yard Hospitality owner Charlie Larner is in the process of getting it to Charlestown.
“Charlie is going to Toronto this week and will be working with the owners to negotiate a price,” he said. “He’s in the final process. They have to fix a few things on the boat, then they’ll hire a crew, and get it down here in the next two months. It’s definitely exciting. It will activate the Navy Yard, which is what the federal government said in 1978 – that the Navy Yard should, would and could be activated to be part of the community. The plan by Balance has moved forward. We’re all excited to be part of it.”
The plan for the boat will be to open sometime in May, as per their license. The restaurant concept will allow for a raw bar and some other items, along with alcohol service too. The boat will be seaworthy and it will also be available to walk through and learn about.
It will be accompanied by lighting that will run from the mast across the watersheet in a varied formation. There is also some ideas about creating wayfinding signage and also opening an entrance to the Yard by the old crane.
“We got the idea for lighting from the North End at Long Wharf,” said Nolan. “They have the blue lights there at the entry and lights at night bring a good, comfortable feeling. It will bring some life to the Navy Yard. I just think of coming in Gate 4 and seeing it lit up with the ocean in the background and the ship…It’s simple and it’s impressive. It’s lights and a boat , but we believe it will be a great addition to the area that will activate it.”
Nolan, who grew up in Charlestown, said being part of the group to bring something new to the Yard is a special feeling.
“I’ve seen it since I was a kid growing up and coming here to work at Tavern on the Water,” he said. “Coming here to work back then and now, you see it needed some sort of vibrancy. Being a Charlestown guy, to be part of that is special.”
The plan by Balance is just one of three that were approved two weeks ago, but likely will be the most visible change and the largest piece of activation. It was also the most controversial piece, as some neighbors were apprehensive about having another restaurant in that space.
However, Nolan and the BPDA both said they felt it was appropriate, given it was an older ship and in a Navy Yard where such ships were built and stored for more than 100 years.
“You’re on the water and this is where ships like that were built,” said Nolan. “We’re bringing back the kind of things that were here. The Tall Ships come here every few years and everyone loves to come see them and go on them. We thought it was a great concept to have one here all the time and you could go on it and get a bite to eat and a drink.”
The license for the activation is good from May to October, but if things work out, the trio said they hope it can be extended for another season. They hope it can become a permanent fixture in the Navy Yard.