DEP Rules Against the Lewis Wharf Hotel Project

By Phil Orlandella

A well-coordinated community endeavor to stop a developer from building out over the water was ended by a ruling by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).

Residents in the Waterfront area immediately opposed plans by developer JW Capital Partners to build a 277-room hotel on his property and extend the project out over the harbor at Lewis Wharf.

DEP ruled the developer can’t count on crumbling old pilings of the wharf a land for placing a hotel there.

This was the final version of a ruling the agency first proposed in September.

The opposition work hard to stop the hotel for environmental reasons, writing letters, attending community and city public meetings, attending rallies carrying signs with their opinion on them and word-of-mouth.

The ruling for the existing proposal was a victory for the opposition that fought for over the past two years covering all the basics including pressuring elected officials.

Lewis Wharf is one of several sites along with Boston Harbor that have drawn opposition from community activists like the Save Our North End Waterfront group that spearheaded the opposition.

The DEP findings made it clear that the Lewis Wharf site is not appropriate for a massive luxury hotel.

Residents had requested a Marina and Park which they have supported from the beginning of their endeavor.

The ruling does not prohibit JW Capital to still build on the 24 acres it owns on the wharf. However, the ruling curtails the company from building over 1.6 acres of water.

It is not known if the developer still plans to build on the wharf or what will be developed if the developers decide to propose a potential plan.

Members of the North End/Waterfront residents’ Association (NEWRA), part of the opposition, praise the DEP ruling.

The North End/Waterfront Neighborhood Council (NEWNC) did not oppose the project.

 The Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA), as expected, supported the Lewis Wharf project.