Five months ago, Cargo Ventures tried to
acquire an unused stretch of land that once served as a railroad along the
Chelsea Creek behind several current freight forwarding and rental car
facilities. The state put out an Invitation to Bid (ITB) for the land that runs
parallel to McClellan Highway in the form of easements through the ITB process.
Cargo Ventures was the only reported bidder.
However, a lack of community process had
elected officials, residents and neighborhood activists calling for a more transparent
process. In July the MBTA’s Fiscal Management Control Board Chair Joe Aiello
said the state was shelving the ITB process until a review of the corridor and
alternative uses for the land could be explored. At the Control Board meeting
Monday Aiello said the state will look at possibly using the easements to
improve mobility in and around Eastie.
With the ITB shelved, Cargo Ventures CEO Jacob Citrin is kicking
off what is sure to be a long community process to sell his ideas for the
stretch of industrial land along the Chelsea Creek that his company owns.
At last week’s Orient Heights Neighborhood
Council (OHNC) meeting, Citrin briefed residents on the parcels Cargo Ventures
owns at 605 Chelsea St./160 McClellan Hwy, 230-370 McClellan Hwy and 440-480
At 605 Chelsea/160 McClellan Hwy site, Citrin
told OHNC members his company would like to renovate the 605 Chelsea St. parcel
into a 25,000 square foot office/retail space or light manufacturing space with
associated offices. This would include a 2,200 car parking facility with an
associated transportation center or 100,000 square feet of multi-service
Citrin said this building would be used by
existing park and fly operations on McClellan Hwy as well as airport employee
parking. The industrial facilities would be occupied by airport-related
Over at 230-370 McClellan Hwy Citrin told the
crowd there would be a phased renovation and expansion of existing 80,000
square feet of industrial space to a 600,000 square foot multi-story industrial
space with offices and car parking. This site could also be used as a potential
alternative to future airport park and fly operations and airport employee
Then at 440-480 McClellan Hwy, Citrin said
Cargo Ventures would develop 264,000 square feet of industrial and office
space. The industrial facility would be occupied by airport-related business
and general industrial companies that need to based in Boston.
However, Citrin said a key to the overhaul of
this industrial stretch of land between the Chelsea Creek and McClellan Highway
is the 1.1 mile long stretch of land along the Chelsea Creek. The land once
served as the Conrail right-of-way, an old railroad route that stretched
through the neighborhood during the late 1800s and early 1900s.
Back in July, if the state did not pull the
ITB, Cargo Ventures would have developed the land to give the company’s truck
drivers direct access to Logan Airport via the Marty Coughlin Bypass Road.
This, Citrin said at last week’s OHNC
meeting, would remove nearly 1,000 vehicles currently serving Cargo Ventures
industrial properties up and down McClellan Hwy from local roads.
Citrin explained that these airport related
freight forwarding companies would have direct access to Logan, via an
extension of the existing bypass road, without adding to the growing congestion
on Route 1A South. Citrin also said the long term goal would be to encourage
trucks coming down from points north of Eastie to also use the bypass road
extension his company would provide.
“They did this, connecting tunnels and
highways to a haul road in Southie with great success,” said Citrin.
Citrin said the unused stretch would be
transformed into a haul road that connects to the Marty Coughlin Bypass Road
for commercial traffic. The plan would include a harborwalk with waterfront
access for residents with climate resilience features.
Cargo Ventures is also willing to enter into
a mitigation agreement with the community to fund community projects and
Citrin said all this hinges on community support as well as
Massport approval and MassDOT and MBTA consent.