The fastest growing neighborhood in Boston, the Seaport District is booming with new developments. Seaport spans approximately 1,000 acres and includes five sub-districts: Fort Point, Innovation District, Port, Convention Center, and 100-Acres. It is most commonly known as the Boston Waterfront or Seaport District and has a rich history that goes back to the 19th century era. It was a wetland peninsula that was annexed to Boston in 1804, when it became a hub of fast-growing industrial development. The area served as home to rail yards and manufacturing companies for Boston’s working port until about 1955. The development of transportation infrastructure, including elevated highways, isolated the District, making it hardly accessible by foot.
Beginning in 1995, the extension of the Massachusetts Turnpike to Logan Airport and the opening of the Ted Williams Tunnel made the area more accessible and created opportunities for development. In 2004, the Seaport District was further integrated into downtown Boston as the result of the project known as the Big Dig that dismantled the elevated Central Artery highway and rerouted Interstate 93 through underground tunnels. Shortly after, the expansion of the MBTA Silver Line brought public transportation to the area for the first time.
2004 also marked the opening of the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center east of Fort Point, which transformed the area and drew in thousands of new visitors. In 2005, The Fallon Company, purchased 21 acres of waterfront property in the District for a massive multi-building waterfront development project to be known as the Fan Pier Development, expected to create $3 billion worth of mixed-use development. The Institute of Contemporary Art relocated to the Fan Pier Development and became the cultural cornerstone and a centerpiece of Boston’s new waterfront. Given the significant changes in those years, the Seaport District was dubbed a “bustling waterfront” by The New York Times in 2007.
By 2010, the District presented a mixed landscape, with newly built, vacant office buildings next to empty factories, high-end apartments and condominiums next to artist studios, and trendy bars next to vast open parking lots.