On Thursday, Oct. 22, a “topping off” ceremony was held at the Boston Landing work site located off of Guest Street in Allston-Brighton. The 15-acre development also houses New Balance’s World Headquarters, a fast track for world-class athletes, and it will feature many more facilities and amenities in addition to the new ice rink.
The ceremony celebrated the American Iron Workers, as the final two beams of the structure were raised and put in place.
Bruins President Cam Neely was on hand for the milestone event.
“These guys are the foundation of this building, and the city, really,” Neely said in reference to the hundreds of workers. “It’s a blue-collar city, and it’s kind of like our fan base. They work really hard and they’ve worked really hard on this project, so it’s nice to see them being able to take this day [to celebrate].”
“Without them, we would not be here,” Jim Davis, Chairman of New Balances Athletics, Inc., said of the workers. “They are out here every day, rain, sleet or snow, minus-10 or over 100 degrees, doing what they do so well.”
Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh also spoke at the event, addressing a crowd of city dignitaries and workers. I addition to Neely and Davis, Jim Halliday (Managing Director, NB Development Group), Tom O’Brien (Managing Director, the HYM Investment Group) and Jay Rourke (Project Manager, NB Development Groups) were also in attendance.
“Cam Neely is such a big part of this city and the Bruins are such a big part of the city,” said The Mayor. “It’s such a great thing to have them back in the City of Boston again.”
The Bruins have spent the past two decades practicing at Ristuccia Memorial Arena in Wilmington, Mass. When the old Boston Garden still stood on Causeway Street, the team would mostly hold their practices there. Prior to that, they bounced around to rinks around the city.
Having a new world-class home back in the city with an arena, workout, office and retail space has been a long time coming for the Bruins.
“Cam Neely deserves the credit,” said Davis, who added that about three years ago, he received a call from Neely regarding Boston Landing. Neely was curious about the track being built.
“He asked, ‘Are you building a rink?’” said Davis. “I said, ‘No, not unless you want one. Now, three years later, we are witnessing a world class arena, the Warrior Ice Arena, right before our eyes.”
“Cam’s call was the catalyst the set off the chain reaction we are observing,” Davis added. “His call raised the mission and purpose of this project to a much higher level.”
“It’s something that I felt, the organization felt we needed a new facility, we needed to closer into Boston,” said Neely. “A lot of the players live in the city, so we started looking probably in ’07, ’08 for opportunities to find a new practice facility and we went all over the place.”
Once Neely read an article of Jim Davis and what New Balance was doing at Boston Landing, he took what he calls “a shot in the dark” — and it paid off.
“But for me, it’s just getting into a world class facility for our athletes and players and training staff, things that we don’t have the ability to do right now,” he said.
The facility’s impact will also extend far beyond the team itself.
“The Bruins’ presence at the unique, urban location, alongside one of the world’s fastest running tracks, has attracted a broad range of institutions,” said David. “From introductory PeeWee teams up to and including other professional sports teams, world class sports medicine facilities, a strength and conditioning center and a state of the art sports and New Balance research lab.”
“We’re proud to be part of the community,” said Neely. “And now it’s stretching out to Allston-Brighton — we’re certainly proud to be in New England and part of the community.”
As Neely, Mayor Walsh and the other City of Boston leaders signed the final beams, along with the workers, their mark was officially put on the new complex that has come a long way in the past year.
“You get excited watching it grow the way it has,” said Neely. “To be on site, see some glass going on the building now — you know, it’s around the corner.”
Perhaps the note Bruins CEO Charlie Jacobs left on the final beam along with his signature best exemplifies how this project has come to fruition: “Teamwork to make the dream work!”