The sins of others in the past certainly haunted Chuck and Ann Lagasse as they worked the last four and a half years through the permitting process to re-build what was a derelict marina left to rot by a Long Island, NY man, but now that nightmare is behind the Lagasses and they are full-steam ahead on expanding their popular Charlestown Marina on Pier 6.
This week, the couple said they have found some gratification in seeing crews on the water building the new, 100-slip expansion that has long been planned for their operating marina on Pier 8.
“It’s definitely gratifying,” said Chuck. “Sometimes you have to step back and enjoy the gratification of getting it going because it’s been very frustrating to get these permits and very frustrating to go through the efforts of clearing the way to get boating access. It is gratifying to put it back to what it should be for the community.”
Pier 6 came under fire statewide in 2012 and 2013 when former owner Martin Oliner ignored fines by the Boston Conservation Commission and refused to clean up the derelict marinas on Pier 6 and 8. It eventually went to the state Attorney General for a takeover, and litigation ensued that took years to straighten out. In the interim, long-time marina operators Chuck and Ann Lagasse took ownership of both properties with a detailed and responsible plan to rebuild brand new marinas – citing great demand for new areas to dock in Boston Harbor. Pier 8 was a tough road, but was eventually turned into the successful Charlestown Marina some years ago. However, Pier 6 was much more difficult and there were far more hurdles to clear to be able to build the simple expansion. It took years to get the permits, and the state AG only last fall approved the long-awaited Chapter 91 license. In April, the Conservation Commission renewed their approvals of the project, and the Lagasses begin trying to start construction, which has been no picnic during the pandemic.
“It was four and a half years just to get our Chapter 91 license, which concluded late last summer,” said Ann.
Added Chuck, “It was four and a half years of intense local and state permitting to do this, which was very frustrating, but we got it done.”
Right now, crews are working on the slips that are on the west side of Pier 6, and have completed many of them already. A giant 325-foot steel breakwater that goes six feet underwater was brought in from Sweden, while all of the other steel work was completed locally in East Boston and floated over to Charlestown.
Much of what is being installed has been in storage for more than 12 months, they said, just waiting for the red tape to turn to green lights.
“Much of the stuff we’re installing was procured over a year ago and came in via ship a year ago,” said Chuck. “Product is very hard to procure now. We’ve had a lot of delays in terms of dealing with deliveries. We’re still having trouble getting the products for the HarborWalk that’s being replaced, like the hardwood timbers that are appropriate for a salt water environment. It’s been a rough construction schedule and we’re behind six to eight weeks. We are persevering though.”
The plan does include 100 new boat slips for Pier 6, and more importantly for the community, about a quarter-mile of HarborWalk will be replaced or built as part of the licensing improvements. The marina is built with an eye to resiliency, including very strong storms – hence the massive breakwater brought in from Sweden.
Both said they hope to have some boats into the new slips by the end of August to get some use out of the property this season and to be ready for next year.
Ann said they have gotten a lot of interest from potential boaters who would like to secure slips, noting that COVID-19 hasn’t slowed down the boating community one bit.
“Even in the pandemic, the boating industry is doing pretty well,” she said. “There’s no better place to social distance than on your boat with your family. We have a boat broker as a tenant and he has no boats left to sell. The whole industry is talking about the interest in boating and how people can participate in boating while still practicing social distancing and safety.”
The new Pier 6 marina will still include the restaurant as a tenant, and there will be other amenities added to the area as well.