BOSTON-A revamped proposal for Pier 4, a commercial, retail and restaurant development on South Boston’s waterfront, submitted by developer Stephen R. Karp, was well-received by state environmental officials. The changes were made after Robert Durand, the state’s environmental secretary, called for more open space and better views of the water on all development plans for the waterfront.

“They came in with a conceptual drawing that is going down the right track,” Doug Pizzi, spokesman for Durand, tells “This is a very preliminary plan and we need to see a lot more detail, but in terms of the amount of open space and density of development, it’s definitely what we’re going for.”

The million sf of development is nearly one third less than in the original proposal. The project would include three buildings, walkways, retail spaces, restaurants and a one-acre park. The famous Anthony’s Pier 4 Restaurant would be rebuilt and relocated.

While Karp’s plans still need to go through a series of permitting processes, receiving even the tacit approval of the state’s environmental office has enabled him to clear a major hurdle. In contrast, negotiations over another waterfront development project, Fan Pier, have stalled since Durand rejected a proposal put forth by Mayor Thomas M. Menino to slim down one of the seven buildings planned for that project.

“We’ve invited them in to talk with us many times,” Pizzi points out. “The secretary has indicated that we’re still open to discussion. With Pier 4, we discussed our vision for the waterfront and they came back to us with a new plan in a matter of days.”

According to Pizzi, Durand wanted both developments to reduce density by 15%. Pier 4 met that formula and said it could work financially, but Nicholas Pritzker, Fan Pier’s Chicago-based developer has stated that he can’t make that kind of density work financially. Pritzker’s representatives in Boston did not return calls by press time, but last month he threatened to pull out of the project if Durand did not approve his plans by Nov. 15.

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