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Will the end of Long Wharf be a restaurant?

Imagine this with windows and tables and steaming bowls of chowderImagine this with windows and tables and steaming bowls of chowder.

A lawsuit by North End residents has tied up a proposed restaurant at the end of Long Wharf for so long the Boston Licensing Board held a hearing today to help decide whether to revoke the proposed eatery's liquor license.

The board votes Thursday on whether to continue to give the proposed operator of Doc's Long Wharf enough time to await a Suffolk Superior Court decision on the suit and to turn what is now a largely ornamental structure into a restaurant or to rescind his liquor license and award it to somebody else.

The Boston Redevelopment Authority, which owns the shelter, first proposed leasing it to restaurant operator Michael Conlon in 2007. The state Department of Environment Protection, which controls waterfront development, approved the plan. But ten North End residents sued, arguing the move would essentially privatize a part of a public park, which is illegal.

Although court arguments ended last fall, the judge in the case has yet to issue a ruling.

A BRA lawyer and planner said they were confident of victory and that the restaurant would help enliven the waterfront, because that's what waterfront restaurants do, by drawing people to the area.

Board member Michael Connolly asked the BRA's lawyer whether she had contacted either the judge in the case or the chief judge of the Superior Court system about getting a decision in the case. When the lawyer said she hadn't, Connolly, himself an attorney, said she should get on that.

Dennis Quilty, Conlon's attorney, said Conlon could begin work immediately assuming the court ruling does go the BRA's way, because he already has the financing in place. Conlon himself estimated enclosing the brick shelter and turning it into a restaurant would take four to six months.

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Comments

That's taking over a public space. Long Wharf is a place I always hit when giving someone a tour of the city. It's a nice escape from all the commercial whoring of F. Hall. The space in front of and on the side of that structure is public space where lots of people hang out in the summer, despite the lacking public furniture.

Hanging out there won't be the same thing if you're sitting outside in front of the windows of a restaurant. You can see examples on the riverwalk, where it's an awkward sidewalk passing some commercial view, not a great place to linger.

Whoring out the Common? Now Long Wharf? Is the Public Garden next? I bet they could squeeze a Boloco stand into the Holocaust memorial.

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Some picnic tables, or maybe chess tables or something, would be nice.

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"It's a nice escape from all the commercial whoring of F. Hall."

I get what you mean but it's in the middle of one of the densest cities in the United States. It's a working wharf and I for one think Boston should put as many restaurants along the cleaned up harbor as possible- draw people to the waterfront that was neglected for so long.

Why not take advantage of the billion dollar or so Boston Harbor clean up?

Now if those restaurants could serve decent seafood, we'd be in business....

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Do something with the Greenway first. Long Wharf already gets used by people.

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Because Boston is suffering from a restaurant shortage.

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. . . is already on Long Wharf as is "The Landing" during the summer- it doesn't need another eatery in my opinion.

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I thought The Landing only served buckets of beer?...looks like I know where my priorities are when i go there!

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And head down towards that area when the weather is nice...but as long as the public seating is maintained and maybe more benches added outside where the restaurant isn't, then I don't have a problem with it. Take a look at the picture, nobody is sitting under the wooden/brick structure....and it's an ideal spot for a restaurant (look at the view). My one question would be how was Conlon awarded this location?

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My one question would be how was Conlon awarded this location?

Hasn't the Globe already looked into that deeply? It should.

Now is the time to get a good answer to that question, before construction starts.

History of development in Boston is what gives cause for suspicion. I don't know anything about this particular deal.

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BRA took short view, some say, in its nod for new Long Wharf eatery, Globe, 3/9/08.

Some highlights: The BRA never conducted any hearings because it owns the property and no planning issues were involved, so screw it, the BRA knows best and who cares what the residents think (note that one of the people quoted on this is Aaron Michlewitz, then just one of those civic-association types, now state rep).

Conlon's EDL, which owns the 21st Amendment and West on Centre, among other restaurants, was one of three restaurant owners to submit a bid. People familiar with restaurant/zoning issues will not be at all surprised to read who his lawyer is.

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Sal de la Terre is technically on Long Wharf- and Legal's is right there- and the Marriott has a restaurant. And there is a lobster roll shack in front of the Aquarium. So to sum up- about six places on or within 100 yards of Long Wharf to get something to eat. Long Wharf isn't hurting for places to get a bite.

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Why not roll in a small food-cart vendor under the structure? Closing off the space to create a full blown restaurant would probably take up most of the space and exclude folks who don't want to drop a Legal or Chart House-sized wad o cash just to get a lobster roll and sit on a bench and watch the boats go by. The may-uh is giving rubbery lip service to food trucks around the city -- why not let one of them park a cart under there? Regardless there does need to be some more seating -- hopefully of the kind that discourages skaters from flailing about down there (wish to Vishnu they'd finish that goddamned skate park under the bridges by the Charles -- but in the meantime there is a waterfront skate park over in Eastie they can use if they need that salt air while falling on their faces).

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This is the only waterfront city I have ever been to that has so little to do right on the water. The more bars and restaurants with waterfront views the better.

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The headhouse for access to the Blue Line is under that shelter. If the entire shelter is enclosed, whatever is there would have to be configured to allow outside access to that headhouse. If I remember correctly, that headhouse is not exactly at the edge of the shelter, kind of set inside that would necessitate a corridor if the shelter were to be entirely enclosed.

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But not the regular public entrance to the T stop - that's at the other end of the hotel.

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