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BOSTON-A team of Bay State and New York City developers has proposed spending $50 million to transform a South Boston pier once used to store cars shipped into New England. Plans call for a three-building commercial maritime center.

The Massachusetts Port Authority says it has reached a preliminary agreement with Marine Terminal Development LLC to build the 440,700-sf project on 30-acres of leased land between Fish Pier and Black Falcon Cruise Terminal, a MassPort official tells GlobeSt.com. The project’s developers estimate that the warehouses could eventually employ up to 600 workers.

Georgeane Tacelli says the development group is expected to begin construction on the site in 2006 pending city approvals and once a land lease is signed with MassPort, which holds a master lease on the property from the City of Boston. The two-year construction project call for the completion of three buildings, one offering road and rail connections, another designed to include office space, cold storage and seafood processing and a third to handle the offloading and storage of containers.

Tacelli notes that the area’s deep water port makes it uniquely suited for the type of operations planned for the site, one of the largest undeveloped parcels along the South Boston waterfront. “We’re seeing significant growth in cargo operations coming into Boston and to keep up with that you need services to support those operations. This contributes to making Boston a full service port.”

Marine Terminal Development, a joint venture between Cargo Ventures LLC of New York City and Boston Freight Terminals, New England Development and Boston Freight Terminals, all of the Boston area, is expected to sign a 65-year lease on the land within the next few months. Tacelli says she could not discuss how much the development group will pay for the lease until it is signed. MassPort initially selected a scrap metal firm to build on the site, but after an outcry over the potential for environmental damage the authority reconsidered its decision.

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