Industrial Base Disappearing

BostonTrainGuy

Active Member
Joined
Sep 18, 2020
Messages
135
Reaction score
92
Just read the thread about the Domino Sugar site being developed in Charlestown. There is a massive industrial area across the river in Everett that is for sale and the city of Everett wants to turn that whole area into housing, hotels, restaurants, etc.

Of course there is an understandable desire to turn ugly industrial property into something nicer, but we still will need the fuel, produce, building materials, scrap metal dealers, cement companies, trash and recycling exporters, distribution centers, C&D collectors, etc.. etc., etc. There is also the problematic factor that rail access is very limited in the Boston area and necessary for many of these businesses and so much better than more truck traffic.

Sure it would make sense to maybe put some of these businesses out on 128 or 495, but they don't want them either. Where are these necessary industries going to go? The further away they go the more truck congestion and pollution the area is going to have. The costs will increase while the availability of the services will become scarce.

So yeah, these new projects are beautiful but the shrinking industrial base is something that is going to present a serious problem in the not too distant future. I don't have the answer but I hope someone in the State is at least concerned.

Just some food for thought.
 
Last edited:

DBM

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 28, 2012
Messages
1,010
Reaction score
282
Just read the thread about the Domino Sugar site being developed in Charlestown. There is a massive industrial area across the river in Everett that is for sale and the city of Everett wants to turn that whole area into housing, hotels, restaurants, etc.

Of course there is an understandable desire to turn ugly industrial property into something nicer, but we still will need the fuel, produce, building materials, scrap metal dealers, cement companies, trash and recycling exporters, distribution centers, C&D collectors, etc.. etc., etc. There is also the problematic factor that rail access is very limited in the Boston area and necessary for many of these businesses and so much better than more truck traffic.

Sure it would make sense to maybe put some of these businesses out on 128 or 495, but they don't want them either. Where are these necessary industries going to go? The further away they go the more truck congestion and pollution the area is going to have. The costs will increase while the availability of the services will become scarce.

So yeah, these new projects are beautiful but the shrinking industrial base is something that is going to present a serious problem in the not too distant future. I don't have the answer but I hope someone in the State is at least concerned.

Just some food for thought.
Compounding the issue, the industrialists in Newmarket--many of whom may be Baby Boomer, mom-and-pop operators itching to cash-out to someone wanting to develop [wait for it...] *lab space*--are utterly consumed these days, if the media reports are accurate, with the ongoing tragedy that is the homelessness/addiction/mental health catastrophe at Mass & Cass...
 

shmessy

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 4, 2010
Messages
2,417
Reaction score
1,641
Just read the thread about the Domino Sugar site being developed in Charlestown. There is a massive industrial area across the river in Everett that is for sale and the city of Everett wants to turn that whole area into housing, hotels, restaurants, etc.

Of course there is an understandable desire to turn ugly industrial property into something nicer, but we still will need the fuel, produce, building materials, scrap metal dealers, cement companies, trash and recycling exporters, distribution centers, C&D collectors, etc.. etc., etc. There is also the problematic factor that rail access is very limited in the Boston area and necessary for many of these businesses and so much better than more truck traffic.

Sure it would make sense to maybe put some of these businesses out on 128 or 495, but they don't want them either. Where are these necessary industries going to go? The further away they go the more truck congestion and pollution the area is going to have. The costs will increase while the availability of the services will become scarce.

So yeah, these new projects are beautiful but the shrinking industrial base is something that is going to present a serious problem in the not too distant future. I don't have the answer but I hope someone in the State is at least concerned.

Just some food for thought.
I hear ya but are waterfront parcels the best use for industrial plants? Other than shipping/maritime/fishing industries?
 

BostonTrainGuy

Active Member
Joined
Sep 18, 2020
Messages
135
Reaction score
92
I hear ya but are waterfront parcels the best use for industrial plants? Other than shipping/maritime/fishing industries?
If they offer the rare combination of water and rail access, then yes. That's the combination you need. We should be encouraging more use of these modes to get more trucks off our already congested roads.
 

shmessy

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 4, 2010
Messages
2,417
Reaction score
1,641
If they offer the rare combination of water and rail access, then yes. That's the combination you need. We should be encouraging more use of these modes to get more trucks off our already congested roads.
Then, how many waterfront properties will someday be able to offer both of those rare combinations? With billions of dollars, maybe one or two? It follows that the rest should be residential/parks/offices/hotels/events/place-making places. The type of development that will create more boat/ship shuttles and tourism traffic and economic development The scrap metal, peer generator plants, autobody, manufacturing, etc can be inland.

We should animate places like the Mystic River, clean it up from the industrial damage of the past industrial wastes and give it more human life. It’s been a dead zone too long. Anyway, for the Mystic, it’s going to inevitably happen. And imho, that’s a really good thing.
 
Last edited:

Arlington

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Dec 10, 2011
Messages
5,084
Reaction score
1,416
Mode preferences change with time and tech.

If we close the docking towers, where will the Zeppelin lines park their dirigibles?

If we convert the blimp hangar to Google offices, where will the Navy maintain its fleet?

If we close the Ferry Terminal and Fidelity moves in, where will the steamers to Portland and Newport dock?

Very shortsighted to build the Mystic Valley Parkway when we could have restored the Middlesex canal to carry cotton to Lowell and textiles and manufactured goods to Boston.

and what will become of Tudor’s ice business if we tear out the lakeside rail spurs and isolate his warehouse in Charlestown?

(These are all real examples)
 
Last edited:

PT1987

New member
Joined
Jun 6, 2021
Messages
24
Reaction score
13
Unless they build an inland canal that can handle ocean going tankers and bulk vessels, the scrap company, cement company, tank farms, etc aren't going anywhere as they are all either import or export facilities that require water access.
 

dshoost88

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 14, 2008
Messages
1,924
Reaction score
1,199
Boston’s industrial base isn’t disappearing: it is diversifying, growing, and evolving.

We have something like 20 million sq. ft. of lab space approved or under construction from now to 2025, serving the life sciences, healthcare, pharmaceutical, bio-medical manufacturing, apparel, agriculture, constriction, and robotics industries.

Boston-area universities are adding maker spaces, nanotechnology labs, and expanded STEM programs in emerging fields like cyber security, epidemiological research, 3D-printing tissue/organs, aerospace, climate resiliency, and so many other specialization.

Don’t confuse the optimization of how and where we integrate new industrial spaces across multiple industrial sectors with the disappearance of industry overall. By most metrics, Greater Boston is adapting to the needs of these emerging industries. This will mean the obsolescence of many dirty, antiquated industrial uses, including the Mystic River-adjacent development sites recently announced.

Our industrial base will disappear the day we fail to adapt and innovate. We are fine… nay, we are thriving.
 

BostonTrainGuy

Active Member
Joined
Sep 18, 2020
Messages
135
Reaction score
92
And how do these new modern industries take away our garbage, store fuel for our homes and vehicles, provide cement and building materials for new construction, recycle our scrap metal, cross-dock and distribute produce, etc.?
 

BostonTrainGuy

Active Member
Joined
Sep 18, 2020
Messages
135
Reaction score
92
Then, how many waterfront properties will someday be able to offer both of those rare combinations? With billions of dollars, maybe one or two?
That supports the initial auguement. It is important to retain the existing scarce industrial zones because we will never be able to build them again.
 

Blackbird

Active Member
Joined
Feb 2, 2014
Messages
616
Reaction score
719
Sure it would make sense to maybe put some of these businesses out on 128 or 495, but they don't want them either. Where are these necessary industries going to go?
I wink in an industrial park close to 495, and I feel like you’re overestimating local opposition to this sort of thing.
 

dshoost88

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 14, 2008
Messages
1,924
Reaction score
1,199
And how do these new modern industries take away our garbage, store fuel for our homes and vehicles, provide cement and building materials for new construction, recycle our scrap metal, cross-dock and distribute produce, etc.?
- Produce less waste during production through operational efficiencies, recycle ♻, and compost. (AKA Reduce, reuse, recycle)
- The new industries aren’t specializing in domestic fuel storage; however, there may be companies regionally specializing in domestic, industrial, vehicular, and grid-wide battery storage for electricity. The 21st century prioritization of electrifying more of our energy needs will make fuel storage less of a priority over time. #adapting
- Until the tariffs of the Trump administration coupled with numerous Buy America provisions, a big portion of the building materials we depend on for construction were produced internationally. The cost of doing construction has increased primarily because of artificially inflated prices on goods from abroad, supply constraints domestically, and supply chain shortfalls further escalated by the COVID-19 pandemic… not so much because someone in Charlestown or Somerville wants to convert their 2-acre Inner Ring lumber mill into 250 apartment units. Cement can be made anywhere as long as the raw materials & aggregates can be readily accessed. I’d be a lot more worried about access to lumber due to drought, unsustainable deforestation, and plant closures impacting construction.
- if given a choice between preserving the scrap metal yards in Boston’s core or moving it to the exurbs so we can build much more in demand housing, lab, commercial, hospitality, and green spaces, I wouldn’t miss the scrap yards.
- last I checked, the produce distribution facilities in Everett and other municipalities have expanded, not contracted. Port of Boston recently expanded its shipping terminal in South Boston, and is seeing an additional $100m or $500m (?) of investment to grow another industry: cruising.
 

shmessy

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 4, 2010
Messages
2,417
Reaction score
1,641
That supports the initial auguement. It is important to retain the existing scarce industrial zones because we will never be able to build them again.

Key word would be SCARCE - - - not the current unnecessarily sprawling along two sides of an emerging high tech/tourism metropolitan waterway. Instead of along X axes on the Mystic Waterfront, switch them to more Waterfront space efficient Y axes from the waterfront. Opening up the waterfront to more human life that can bring in far more tax revenue and enliven the cities and the river.

Humanity can indeed walk and chew gum at the same time - - - with some long-term horse trading and land swaps, the wasteful sprawling waterfront industrial hogs can be made to become more efficient and rotate 90 degrees. Hell, look what Salem is doing: https://harborplan.salem.com/wp-con...0324-Public-Meeting-Deck-FINAL-compressed.pdf

Furthermore, work on expanding the Ports of New Bedford and Fall River - - there are many social and economic benefits to doing that.

I'm all for industrial warehouses, autobody shops, scrap metal dealers, utilities plants, etc - - - just not the kind that hog a high demand high tech urban waterfront. There are plenty of areas for it.
 
Last edited:

Top