Study of Cultural, Civic, and Non-Profit Facilities of Public Accommodation in Boston*

The Boston Redevelopment Authority sought to understand the market forces at work, and the needs and concerns of non-profits that had the potential to invigorate the waterfront with public uses, programming, and Boston Harbor connections, but that were not occupying prime Harborwalk spaces.  Facilities of Public Accommodation (FPAs) are public uses (restaurants, performance areas, hotels, retail, educational and cultural institutions) required under the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ Waterways Regulations (Chapter 91) for new or redevelopment projects.  In the coming years, several hundred thousand square feet of FPA space will be created in Boston as various waterfront projects are completed.  Developers and the City were having difficulty recruiting non-profits to lease FPA ground floor space.  With 47 miles of shoreline within Boston borders and seven major waterfront neighborhoods, the City was seeking to better understand community needs and market forces to offer assistance to developers and help activate waterfront space with appropriate public uses and programming. 

The students explored:

 How much space currently exists and how much is projected to come on line in the next ten to fifteen years

What the differences in available space and in the needs of each waterfront neighborhood are

How national case studies can inform local planning

What non-profits need in terms of waterfront space, leasing arrangements, and economics to enable them to locate on the waterfront?