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some local leaders the action along and beside the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway is a work in progress. Projects are progressing, business development is happening, and events are being planned to bring new life and vitality to this reborn section of Boston.
"These projects require so many stars to align. They have a window of time in which they can move forward, and if they miss that window it's hard to put them back together," he said.
But he and others agreed that seeing the full business and economic revitalization along the Greenway will just take time.
"That has statewide impact," Friedenberg said.
"These things always take longer than expected," O'Brien said. "And as long as we continue to see progress which we are seeing we're confident of success."
"Not all of those are in the right of way but they've been in many cases encouraged by what happened there," he said, adding that he considers the development happening as a result of the Big Dig an "unmitigated success."
"If you remember a few years ago there was a jungle of roadway detours and construction sites, and it pretty much looked like a war zone. We now have about a mile of related parks, open spaces, new surface streets, sidewalk improvements, plantings and the beginning of new activities. So if we're not too harsh on ourselves, I think we can say it's been a success," said Robert Tuchmann, a partner at law firm WilmerHale who has served for 17 years as the chairman of the Central Artery Environmental Oversight Committee and for nine years as co chairman of the mayor's Central Artery Completion Task Force.
"This is just beginning," Tuchmann added.
Couple that with the current economic climate, and it's bound to put a damper on the ability for some projects to get off the ground now or even in the future, he said.
"What's coming to fruition is the result of a lot of planning," he said. And while much of it isn't in the space created by the Big Dig, O'Brien said the overall Central Artery and MBTA projects were the catalysis for the work now happening.
Still, Friedenberg saw success in the overall scheme of things and how the finished Big Dig has opened up whole sections of Boston, notably the Seaport District/South Boston waterfront, to redevelopment.
But Peter Friedenberg, chairman of the real estate department at law firm Sherin and Lodgen LLP, said the overwhelming failure of the Big Dig is its crippling cost. The state is facing increasing costs from the $2.2 billion Big Dig debt and a debate over how to cover it, with possible solutions ranging from toll hikes on the Massachusetts Turnpike to an increase in the gasoline tax.
The Greenway parks, he pointed out, really just opened this past year. As with any new park, it will take a while for the grass and plantings to mature, making them look and feel more welcoming. And, he noted, it will take some time to cultivate the formal and informal activities that enliven such space. But those things are happening, and he said he expects these parks to be better utilized in coming years.
Bob O'Brien, executive director of the Downtown North Association, said the redevelopment of the city's Bulfinch Triangle and West End neighborhoods is part of the success story rising above the Big Dig.
On the other hand, O'Brien did say that work remains and there have been some lost opportunities.
More are in the works, too, promising additional residential, office and retail development including a supermarket for the area, O'Brien said.
Others saw lost opportunities as well, citing the Mass Horticultural Society plans as an example.
Park space isn't the only thing being developed. Tuchmann and others pointed to a number of building projects proposed near the Greenway.
"I think the problem was our expectations got high. We were riding a wave of more and more development, so there is a sense of disappointment," Friedenberg said.
projects take root above Big Dig
After decades of hearing about the Big Dig and what was happening under Boston's streetscape, public attention is now focused on what's transpiring on the swath of land where the Nike Crew Socks Black
Already, there are a number of projects under construction or recently completed in the Downtown North/West End area as a result of the Big Dig as well as the corresponding changes made in the MBTA line there. Specifically, O'Brien cited the $160 million West End Residences at Emerson Place; the new $120 million Liberty Hotel at Charles Circle; the $4 million residential renovation of a long vacant building at 126 North Washington St.; the new Lancaster Medical Suites, a Adidas Tank Top Dress $3 million rehabilitation of 12,000 square feet of professional space in two very visible and long vacant industrial buildings within the Bulfinch Triangle; and the $100 million Charles River Shoreline Improvements program that will extend the Esplanade and create new waterfront parkland amenities on both the Boston and Cambridge shores of the Charles River.
O'Brien also highlighted several other projects that are either fully permitted or have just begun construction, including the Nike Sports Bra For Girls
Don't judge success on such events, say Nike Black Trousers
$240 million Nashua Street Residences; the $40 million renovation of the long vacant former Forecaster building at 121 Portland St.; the $130 million Avenir project on the MBTA right of way along Canal Street; and the $85 million Lovejoy Wharf project that will create new housing and public waterfront amenities.
elevated Central Artery once dominated.
But some of the news about plans for the land above and around the depressed highway has been less than stellar. Proposed projects from such organizations as the Massachusetts Horticultural Society and the New Center for Arts and Culture either have been dropped or scaled down for a variety of reasons.
For example, he said there's a small North Washington Street parcel for which the development designation process has yet to be completed. "I wouldn't call it a failure, but I would call that a disappointment because it has yet to come to fruition," he said.
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