Plan Announced for 2070-Resilient Waterfront Development to Solve Urgent Sea-Level Rise Issues

Special to Times

The Flatley Company has announced that the 21-acre site of the former Domino Sugar Refinery will be developed and transformed to reconnect to the Charlestown neighborhood and open up the waterfront to the public for the first time since the 1950s. The area will be highlighted by a robust and unprecedented plan to protect areas of Charlestown, Cambridge, and Somerville from sea-level rise. 

Located on the Mystic River in Charlestown, 425 Medford St. is adjacent to two parcels also owned by Flatley, the Schrafft’s City Center and 465 Medford St.  All together, these three parcels total approximately 46-acres of waterfront property. The project now proposed at 425 Medford St. prioritizes both public access and resiliency by opening up the entire waterfront to the public along all three properties and by addressing existing and future site flooding from predicted sea-level rise and climate change through the incorporation of a 22-foot-high resilient flood barrier constructed to 2070 flood-proof standards. 

This flood barrier will be constructed as a more than three-quarter mile long public amenity including a harbor walk extension, various recreational and park areas, a public dock, boat launch, and kayak launch, and several public look-out points. As such, this new waterfront park will not only reopen the waterfront to Charlestown for recreation and enjoyment, but it will also significantly protect over 220-acres of Charlestown, as well as over 100 acres of Somerville and Cambridge from predicted future devasting flooding.

In addition to the significant resiliency and public realm benefits provided by the flood barrier and waterfront park, 425 Medford will continue to focus on the creation of new resilient and sustainable public open spaces that seamlessly connect to the existing neighborhood.  These new waterfront open spaces, connecting pathways, parks and plazas, a community building, and thousands of square feet of public retail and service destinations, will be intermingled with a mix of uses including residential buildings, hotel, and office/laboratory on the 21 acres.

 “This is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to make a significant impact to protect this area from a real issue facing all of us, sea-level rise. We have a unique opportunity to be able to make a flood barrier into a public amenity for the city and bring the people of Boston to a significant waterfront site that much of the public has most likely never stepped foot on,” said John Roche, Chief Executive Officer, The Flatley Company. “We look forward to working with the community, the elected officials and city and state agencies as we move forward on plans for a mixed used site highlighted by unique approaches to resiliency and public access on the waterfront.”

 The developer will be working with the community and city and state to develop and advance details of the project.  The project adheres to many public planning efforts and regulations including Imagine Boston 2030, Plan: Charlestown, and the Boston Planning & Development Agemcy’s newly adopted regulations regarding resiliency and flood-proofing. 

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