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Rising Sea Levels Threaten Boston Development

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File image (credit: AP)

File image (credit: AP)

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Boston (CBS) – Experts say the threat of a rising sea level is very real to downtown Boston’s buildings and future development. Some business owners are already preparing for trouble.

Lisa Van Der Pool of the Boston Business Journal reports this poses a threat to Boston real estate that could cost millions.

The key is that not only is the threat real, but it’s really growing. Because of several different factors, like melting glaciers and climate change, the sea level is expected to rise gradually in the coming decades, putting buildings on Boston’s waterfront at severe risk of being flooded.

The forecast calls for the sea level to rise 2.5-feet to 5-feet between the next 40 to 90 years. The worst fear is that the sea level will rise and a severe storm will hit, and not only downtown Boston will flood, but surrounding areas like Cambridge will flood too.

Boston businesses are taking this very seriously and paying attention to it. The Boston Harbor Association had a meeting about the rising sea level in November.

A recent report from the World Wildlife Fund found that rising sea levels could put $463 billion in Boston assets at risk by 2050. A new development, a $3 billion Seaport Square project on Boston’s waterfront, is expected to have protections against severe flooding, and according to the BRA it’s the first time that such a large project is putting in such protections.

Obviously it’s going to be building owners and developers who are really concerned about this type of thing, but some environmental experts are worried that because the average time to own a large building in downtown Boston is less than 10 years, that some owners might not be willing to invest in protection against current buildings.

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