BOSTON-In the latest installment of the Fan Pier project saga, the state’s environmental secretary Robert Durand rejected the compromise plan put forth by the city. Durand’s approval is the last hurdle for the city’s Municipal Harbor Plan.

Durand has stated that he wants more open space and smaller buildings near the water. After the original proposal for the 3.3 million-sf Fan Pier Project, which is part of the Harbor Plan, was shot down Chicago developer Nicholas Pritzker had warned that he would pull out of the project if there were any more delays. City Hall put forth a compromise plan, which reduced the size of the controversial Building H, a 23-story office and tower building, and added more civic space. Pritzker accepted that plan.

Durand wants that building eliminated and he wants a two-acre centerpiece park. “The secretary has said that something needs to be done to mitigate the shadow over the cove in front of Fan Pier,” Doug Pizzi, press secretary for office of environmental affairs. “Building H needs to be eliminated.” Pizzi points out that Building H occupies a footprint of approximately a half an acre. Pritzker would still get enough total space to fill three large office towers.

The influential Conservation Law Foundation that had threatened to sue if the Fan Pier original proposal or compromise was accepted. “We are pleased to see the secretary stand by his draft decision,” Bennett Heart, senior attorney at CLF tells “The secretary is a public trustee and he has thus far acquitted himself well in his role.”

Heart points out that even under Durand’s plan for Fan Pier there will be much urban development. The floor/area ratio will be denser than Back Bay. “We’re not talking about the difference between Duxbury and Manhattan here,” he says. “We’re talking about a refinement of public and private space.”

A spokesperson here told that the Pritzkers do not have a comment at this time. Representatives, however, have said that Durand’s plan would compromise the economic feasibility of the project.

The mayor’s office did not return calls at press time but Mayor Thomas M. Menino is quoted as saying that the project cannot be scaled back any further. “They offered to give us the financials on this project,” says Pizzi, “but we have yet to see them. The developers certainly have a fiduciary responsibility to their investors but the secretary has a responsibility to insure the public trust.”

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