A transformative project for the future of the Charles River Esplanade

Charlesbank Landing would transform an area of the Esplanade that has largely been closed off from the public since the 1990s by bringing visitor services, recreational and open space, and cultural amenities to one of Boston’s most-visited destinations. The project is anchored by a new, year-round Esplanade Riverfront Pavilion visitors center.

The Esplanade Association’s gift includes a commitment to fund at least 30 years of the site’s operations and maintenance expenses, including all costs of running the Pavilion facility. The total value of the gift is expected to exceed $20 million and will be funded by donations from members and supporters of the Esplanade Association. The commitment represents one of the largest private gifts to the Commonwealth’s state parks system in history.



Charlesbank Landing will offer exciting new amenities to enhance the enjoyment of park users and expand their experience in the park.
  • Staffed, accessible visitors center will provide useful park information and feature exhibits related to the multilayered histories of the area.
  • Accessible bathrooms (open year-round).
  • Café with both indoor and outdoor seating.
  • Programmable roof deck providing unique views of the Charles River.
  • Outdoor riverfront classroom with tiered, natural seating.


Using innovative, sustainable practices, Charlesbank Landing will provide wide-ranging environmental improvements for Boston consistent with Boston 2030 and Climate Ready Boston goals.
  • The Esplanade Riverfront Pavilion will be LEED®-certified, energy-efficient, and sustainably managed.
  • Site will include 1.6 acres of landscape improvements including 500 perennials, 25 new trees, and green living walls to improve air quality, and reduce energy use and heat island impacts.
  • A re-engineered riverbank and newly-created wetlands act as stormwater management systems and invite visitors to connect with the natural landscape.
  • Large pollinator garden will provide multiple benefits for pollinator species including restoration of their habitat in the park and overall ecosystem.


New recreational opportunities will provide entirely new ways for park visitors to interact with the Charles River.
  • Nature play area encourages exploration and discovery.
  • New multipurpose field adds multifunctional programming space designed to minimize weather-related downtime.
  • Improved, multimodal pathways with new lighting, benches, and views of the river and city will enhance park visitors’ enjoyment, access, safety, and usability.
  • Gathering spots throughout the landscape includes grassy areas, café seating, and an all-weather covered plaza.


Charlesbank Landing will expand a successful, 20-year public-private partnership between the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation and the Esplanade Association to foster a new level of superior service and park programming.
  • New purpose-built indoor and outdoor spaces to support year-round inclusive programming while welcoming new audiences to the Esplanade and providing space for civic, artistic, educational, cultural, and other community uses.
  • Suitable in-park facilities will enhance the care of the trees, gardens, playgrounds, acres of open space, and miles of pathways and shoreline provided by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation and the Esplanade Association.
  • Enhanced staff presence maximizes operational outcomes, promotes a safe environment, and supports a vibrant mixed-use facility.


Project Background

The Charlesbank Landing project is the result of a wide-ranging public process in 2017 led by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) to establish goals for the future use of the long-neglected Lee Pool complex on the Esplanade. The agency retained Maryann Thompson Architects (‘MTA’) and Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates (‘MVVA’) while engaging the Esplanade Association and more than 20 stakeholder groups in a nine-month analysis reflecting nearly a dozen community meetings and hundreds of public comments. The Charlesbank Landing plans achieve each of the consensus goals from the 2017 public process while adopting an added focus on climate change preparedness and resiliency planning. 

Charlesbank Landing will be located at the former site of Lee Pool on the Esplanade, in between the Longfellow Bridge and Museum of Science, and adjacent to the Teddy Ebersol’s Red Sox Fields, Alfond Memorial Spray Deck, and future site of Gronk Playground.


To date, 27 organizations have signed on to support the project and its accompanying legislation, signifying a diverse group of stakeholders in the future vibrancy of Charlesbank Landing. 

Additionally, Charlesbank Landing is supported by State Senators Sal DiDomenico and William Brownsberger, State Representative Jay Livingstone, and City Councilor Kenzie Bok.

If you’re interested in lending your voice on behalf of this project, please contact us at charlesbank@esplanade.org.



If you are interested in financially supporting this vision, please contact Jim Diverio at 617-227-0365 Ext. 502 or jdiverio@esplanade.org.


For any questions or comments about the Charlesbank Landing, please email us at charlesbank@esplanade.org.