Rising seas and raising questions in booming Boston district
By PHILIP MARCELO Jun. 06, 2018
BOSTON (AP) — In this old city’s booming Seaport District, General Electric is building its new world headquarters, Amazon is bringing in thousands of new workers, and Reebok’s red delta symbol sits atop the new office it opened last year. Three tech companies are testing self-driving cars and restaurants and apartments have gone up virtually overnight.
But after bad flooding this past winter, some wonder whether it was a bright idea to invest so much in a man-made peninsula that sits barely above sea level.
“That was the first winter where we really saw waves splashing onto the boardwalk and water in the streets,” said Greg Hoffmeister, who watched the brief deluge from the third-floor Seaport office of his real estate firm. “You start to think: Is that what we’re in for, as sea levels rise?”
As they gear up to host the International Mayors Climate Summit on Thursday, municipal officials insist they’re making the proper preparations in a city that was less than 500 acres (202 hectares) when the Puritans settled it in 1630 but now includes more than 5,000 acres (2,023 hectares) of man-made landfill — one-sixth of its entire area.
“We know the water is going to be coming in through South Boston, pretty much from every direction, by 2070,” said Richard McGuinness, a city planning deputy, referring to the neighborhood that includes the Seaport.