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Is the future of Faneuil Hall Marketplace as a mall for the nouveau riche living in downtown towers?

NorthEndWaterfront.com reports on a public meeting Tuesday over the future of the venerable marketplace - whose operators have already announced plans to rip out the current food stalls and replace them with fancy bistros and the like.

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It's all part of the systematic gentrification of Boston that keeps going on, like the replacing of the useful and functional Pru food court with that Disneyland version of Italy. Let's cater to the rich and the tourist, and the average, working Bostonian be damned.

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but neither the Pru's food court nor Fanueil Hall's food court were very good, mostly Panda Express and Sbarro-style food.

There has to be a happy medium between the two, but usually you have to swing to extremes in order to settle to a better balance.

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The part I don't disagree with you on is that the Pru's food court wasn't anything special or much different than anything found at any mall anywhere else in the country. Faneuil Hall's (or more accurately, Quincy Market) though is a different story. Yeah, it's a very touristy place, but it has lots of mom and pop shops, lots of variety and some pretty decent quality stuff. It's a huge draw to the whole area and without it, Faneuil Hall Marketplace wouldn't be much more than a glorified suburban mall, with a few more mom and pop stores sprinkled in than most malls have. Suburban malls are dying, but mall owner (and contracted operator of Faneuil Hall Marketplace), Ashkenazy Acquisition Corp., seems to be in denial of that. I can't predict this being anything but huge failure and the cost to the City, tourism in the Downtown area and this historic market will be huge. I think it's time for the BRA to end its relationship with Ashkenazy and turn this City owned asset's management and operations to an organization that is interested in actually running it properly.

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Let's cater to the rich and the tourist, and the average, working Bostonian be damned.

Sorry, but who do you think the current tourist trap at Quincy Market is catering too? Quick hint: when something's called a tourist trap, it ain't the locals.

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not just to tourists. I ate there fairly often when I worked nearby.

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Inside the market? From my experience, I don't think that is true on a large scale. Everything is priced so absurdly high (even compared to a going rate lunch in Downtown) and the place is packed with tourists that it is usually avoided at all costs by the vast majority of the Downtown workforce.

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... this is their only outpost, which pulled me in for my first visit in at least 15 years. As meh as many of the vendors look, it has been packed for lunch whenever I've stopped by.

Also, not too many places outside QM cater to budget tourists. Not Caswell Massey or American Eagle, of course, but lots of pretty inexpensive food and lobster-emblazoned coffee mugs in one venue.

I'm not immediately opposed to a change here. The model they have is outdated, but provides a few important services-- quick, locally produced food in a single location, and a central point for tour companies and such catering to tourists. These services can probably be provided in a better designed, less sprawling, generic, 1980s-style design.

As far as the rest of the space goes, if we lose Newmarket, I want those vendors back at Quincy Market.

QM & Faneuil have a lot of space. There's room to accommodate tourists and locals. There's no reason a smart planner can't make it work. However, if the target remains budget tourists, then the wise move would be to target budget Bostonians.

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It's unseemly to brag about how much money you have to spend on lunch each day, Ron. :)

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I worked across the street from Faneuill for 5 years and ate there twice. There is no reason to go when every type of food served in there can be found within a 10 minute walk that is of better quality and at a lower price.

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Seems spendy for a daily lunch. Also, perhaps it's just my taste, but if i worked nearby and had that kind of money to spend on lunch daily, I'd be going to D'Guru, LaGrassa's, any number of other places where the food's at least as good and there's less pushing and shoving.

(ok, about the pushing and shoving, maybe not LaGrassa's, but...you get the idea)

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but from time to time.

(also, I worked north of here on the waterfront, not south in the financial district)

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The imagined rich value their time more than anything, so expecting them to loll around a glorified roach motel for consumers is probably doomed.

The bigger problem is decline of the walk in retail storefront. There will always be a certain sort of shopaholic impulse buyer, but their disposable incomes are shrinking.

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Actually, I think this is going to hurt the food options available to tourists in downtown Boston.

Do we expect a family of 5 from Ohio to sit down for lunch and order 10 plates of $11 fusion tapas? (And a $4 bottle of sparkling water)

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IMAGE(http://media-cdn.tripadvisor.com/media/photo-s/07/c2/f3/c8/haymarket-pizza.jpg)

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Why pay $1.50 for an excellent slice at Haymarket when you can pay 3 times that and get a mediocre slice at Faneuil Hall?

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Exactly - locals may avoid tourist traps, but they generate money. If these developers take it too far, they'll kill the golden goose - they'll be left with swanky airport-type lounges that might get some buzz from the locals for a few months, but after awhile, they'll avoid it because 'they've been there' and 'there are still too many tourists'. On the other side, the families from Cleveland looking for chowder and some Sox merch will be turned off by the fact that something they thought was uniquely Boston could just as well have been erected in upscale Naples, FL. The grass is always greener.

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Average Bostonians nowadays are Saudi and Chinese students paying full boat. Speaking of moneyed Chinese, read this out of Vancouver.

https://ca.news.yahoo.com/soaring-vancouver-home-prices-spur-anger-towar...

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Boston Magazine had an article about foreign investment in Boston:
http://www.bostonmagazine.com/news/article/2014/09/30/chinese-real-estat...

Foreign investment is a sore spot for me. I prefer to see people buying property in MA living in MA. I'd like to see how many apartments rented out to locals are owned by people living in other countries.

My opinion expressed above make me happy Adam hasn't added a thumbs down rating.

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Have a high property tax, but have a (somewhat) lower rate for owner-occupied homes.

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The city has a tax break for owner-occupied houses and condos.

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Boston does it too:
http://www.cityofboston.gov/assessing/exemptions/resexempt.asp

I think the amount offered is far smaller than you will earn as a rental.

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The Pru food court and Faneuil Hall aren't gentrified now?? Aren't geared toward tourists? Great use of catch phrases, but neither location was an authentic, urban oasis for residents.

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Neither one is gentrified. Both are definitely tourist-oriented. There's a difference.

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From Websters

Gentrify: to change (a place, such as an old neighborhood) by improving it and making it more appealing to people who have money.

People shopping at the Pru and in Faneuil Hall have money, thus the area is already "gentrified".

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Though it's all gone when I get back :)

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Webster's mantle of authority notwithstanding, that's a crappy definition. Almost everybody "has money"; it's how we acquire goods and services in our economy. The panhandler on the corner "has money"; so does the tourist standing next to him looking lost; so does the affluent professional walking down the street who's in the market for a luxury condo in a previously distressed neighborhood. The panhandler "has money" for the next five minutes; the tourist "has money" in the form of a budgeted amount of cash to blow on his once-a-year vacation; the affluent professional "has money" in the form of substantial ongoing disposable income.

Now, if you're the person being displaced by development, the distinction may not matter a damn to you, but there IS a difference between gentrification and rousification. A tourist trap designed to appeal to middle-American tastes is not "gentrification".

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It's all part of the systematic gentrification of Boston that keeps going on, ....

I assume you're aware where this is - like on the waterfront, probably some of the most expensive real estate in the city. If you want to accuse the owners of gentrifying the area, you're 40+ years too late.

Sometimes I get the feeling that people love using the word "gentrification" without thinking before they use it.

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Greenway Cough cough

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Nah, Boston2024 has plans level it and replace it with a temporary velodrome.

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Shouldn't fool with their bread and butter.

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It's happening currently. I work for a contractor that's currently building out a space which required 2 food stalls close their doors.

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The current Bro scene or high end tech brats, are those the only options? What about the original use up to a few decades ago, produce, meat, cheese and other food vendors?

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That's for the new public market at Haymarket opening this year one block over.

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IMAGE(http://www.shorpy.com/files/images/4a11375a.preview.jpg)

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What happened, Adam - did you get a property tax bill you aren't happy with?

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And you'll like it or else another blob of feeble apologist blather will be be lobbed your way by those who benefit from these maneuvers.

If it isn't broke, why fix it? The current scumpany running this show is probably up to its eyeballs in debt from the purchase cost and now they scramble to validate the imbecile projections some suit made to trigger the buy.

That seems to be the trend at Chestnut Hill, Natick and so on.

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The city has done a good job of changing the laws so that Boston is starting to get a reasonable food truck scene. The food trucks have more diverse offering which are far better tasting than I remember anything being at Faneuil. So looking at Boston as a whole the market for independent, unique culinary offerings is growing.

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There are food trucks when the weather is nice.
Try finding one in the cold weather.

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There are 3 year round right across from Faneuil. At least there was on days the city plowed the plaza.

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Where am I going to get a good old hot dog or ice cream cone? I love a quick slice of puzza, too.

I now skip the Pru because I can't get my cookie at The bakery so the other stores aren't getting my business. Really! I am walking a different way now.

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Puzza...

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Two blocks west. You'll do just fine. Sbarro it ain't.

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I'm glad Boston is finally getting rid of these disgusting poor people with their bad behavior. I think Boston should control these "affordable housing" types by requiring all children under 18 be escorted by a Nanny. Thank you BRA.

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Because currently all the "poor people" in Boston eat at the Pru food court and at Faneuil Hall.

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There's still the adorably gritty and downmarket food court at Downtown Crossing, which (little known fact) the Pit of Despair from "The Princess Bride" was modeled after.

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Ah yes, the Corner Mall food court, the most consistently bad execution of many types of food. Crappy Chinese, crappy Indian, crappy Japanese, crappy Mexican, crappy Thai, you name it.

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Perhaps the original Rouse Houses have just lost their original cache. Baltimore's version for years had locally owned restaurants in their food building and middle class stores in their non-food building. Now the food building has a Ripley's Believe it or Not and an anodyne Bubba Gumps.,

Has the South Street Seaport mall gone the same direction?

The economics - which of couse include expectations of returns - favor large corporations that leverage prices and brand, can easily move in and just as easliy move out. Local ties and local companies are unimportant at best and a hurdle to the desires for as fast as possible returns.

Yet is it also about suppy versus demand. If the demand is for cookie cutter businesses that are predictable, hve little to no risk of not meeting an established expectation, in other words are a safe known quantity that requires no risk of disasspointment or having to respond to local fashions and expectation, then chains, high and low, are the way to go.

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I won't be sorry to see the junk shops and crappy food stands go.

I think there's very little to ruin here, quite frankly.

I'm sure it will be replaced by totally bland, generic corporate food. But this will be a lateral move.

Can people please name of some of the great restaurants we're about to lose? I'd say 90%+ of what's there right now is mediocre or worse.

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I fail to see how shopping at Uniglo (throw away clothing) is for the rich....what bothers me is adding retail to the beautiful Quincy Market structure. If one wants to truly appreciate the architecture of the landmark, the upper floors should be sit down restaurants like in the old days of Frog Lane and the Magic Pan or for even more of the public to enjoy...a function area. I am saddened to see that the first public hearing came after so much demolition is already underway. What is so special about Uniglo as it already has a strong presence in the area with so many locations. What is so unique and special about the Uniglo brand? What is the consumer getting, a throw away shirt made in a sweat shop overseas by people being abused by being paid only $3-$3.50 a day in earnings? What was the expense to families in Quincy Market? Evictions and relocations. There is currently a giant wall covering a once vibrant area that was home to pushcarts and kiosks and underground little stores. I live nearby and frequent Regina Pizza and several other food court operations that have been there for many years. Renovations are great but there is no need to get rid of the local operators who have proven themselves by their longevity and success. It's supposed to be a hustling and bustling marketplace, loud and busy for everyone to enjoy...what is special is what is local what is Boston and New England not what is everywhere else..let it be the showcase that it has been.

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why wouldn't you walk the extra 10mins to the original Regina instead of eating at a food court?

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...you could read the writing on the wall (or the chalkboard menu) when Durgin Park suddenly had polite waitstaff, and for sometime now. Gawd, I miss the hipchecks if my chair was out too far and the surly demeanor....

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Boston is trying to be the new Manhattan. The South End has changed completely. If you thought they were going to stop there your crazy. The big money is working its way south. Lower Roxbury and Dudley then to the new purple line stations in Dorchester. In twenty years this will be a completely different city.

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