By John Lynds
At a Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) sponsored meeting on Monday night in East Boston, three proposals to develop the former Hess site on Condor Street along the Chelsea Creek were pitched to the East Boston community.
One of those proposals came from Chelsea’s Eastern Salt Company, which said it was looking to expand its operations across the McArdle Bridge to East Boston.
The industrial parcel of land that once housed storage tanks for Hess Oil is zoned as a Designated Port Area (DPA) so a majority of the activity at the site needs to be marine industrial use.
Three developers, City Wide Organics, the East Boston Community Development Corporation (CDC) and the Eastern Salt Company from Chelsea, put together solid maritime focused uses with community benefits, but the crowd seemed to be leaning towards the CDC proposal.
The Eastern Salt proposal, which got a lukewarm reception from residents of Eastie, was to place a ‘buffer’ salt pile, like the company has across the Meridian Street Bridge in Chelsea, on the Hess Site.
The salt would be barged over from Chelsea and distributed around the region during winter storms. While Eastern Salt did have community benefits like a harbor walk and outdoor green space, it was the fact that the property could generate 40 to 50 truck trips per day during the height of winter storm activity that had many really concerned.
Despite Eastern Salt’s best efforts to win the crowd over with community benefits, many residents on Eagle Hill said they did not want to look down on a 50-foot pile of salt all year long.
City Wide Organics submitted a proposal to convert the property into a organic waste recycling plant that will convert waste into renewable energy and fertilizer. They also plan to create public outdoor space around the perimeter of the plant much like the MWRA Deer Island facility in Winthrop.
The CDC proposal was pitched its director, Al Caldarelli. He said his proposal would limit traffic, cause no odor and create jobs in the community. The CDC plans to build three buildings as well as a tot lot park, harbor walk and dog park as community benefits. The three buildings would house three longstanding Eastie businesses. These businesses include John Zirpolo’s Cora Group, an expansion of Dan Noonan’s already successful shipyard and marina on Marginal Street and Peter Merullo’s Semper Diving and Marine. All three businesses have roots in marine industrial use.