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BOSTON-Commonwealth Flats, a 30-acre stretch of land in South Boston on the waterfront that is owned by the Massachusetts Port Authority, has long been a prime development area. With the development of many sites here along the waterfront–including the convention center, Pier 4 and Fan Pier–and the opening of the Ted Williams Tunnel as well as two transitway stops here, this stretch has become even more attractive to developers anxious to get their hands on waterfront property.

According to Georgeane Tacelli, spokesperson for Massport, Commonwealth Flats is divided up into a number of parcels, some of which have been developed by private developers. Fidelity has developed three parcels on which it built two office buildings, known as World Trade Center East and West, and the Seaport Hotel. Fidelity also holds the option on another parcel on which it plans to build World Trade Center South.

The problem is the eastern part of Massport’s land, which includes the seaport, Conley’s Terminal, abuts the working area of the port, including the seafood processing centers and warehouses that serve the fishing industry as well as the storage areas for containers unloaded at the seaport. Lowell Richards, Massport’s director of development, did not return calls by presstime, but he is quoted as saying that running the seaport is a money-losing proposition and Massport needs to develop its property in order to fund the port.

Neighborhood groups insist that Massport’s first loyalty should be to the port, not to developing its land. The concern is that the development will threaten the viability of the port’s future.

In a master plan for the area, development is recommended for seven parcels that border the commercial area of the port. Development is currently underway on four of those parcels, which includes a 14-story building, an 18-story hotel and two apartment buildings.

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