The Seaport District was built on top of old piers and the detritus of fish processing plants. Today, Boston’s newest neighborhood is a vibrant zone of luxury hi-rises and gleaming corporate structures. The transformation cost more than $18 billion in public taxpayer dollars, but not everyone is reaping the benefits.

This is especially true for area Latinos and African Americans, whose presence in the Seaport is minimal. So, some hoped that when a Latino-owned restaurant moved into the first-floor commercial space of a luxury apartment building 18 months ago, it might be the beginning of a trend. Now, that business is on the verge of closing, and some believe race and ethnicity are playing a part.

Pedro Alarcon is chef and co-owner of the restaurant named after him, La Casa de Pedro, located in the Waterside Place apartments. While Alarcon’s other restaurant in Watertown is a fixture in that neighborhood, his bistro in the Seaport may be nearing the end of its run.

Alarcon owes banks, contractors and his landlord at least 4 million dollars.

He had hoped the debt could be offset by continuing what began as a series of after-dinner events. With an entertainment license in hand, he hired a public relations expert to get the word out. After several succesful nights of salsa and hip-hop dances in February that brought in thousands of extra dollars, residents in the building, including a woman named Deb who declined to give her last name, complained.

“Well, they turned this restaurant into a nightclub, but it's not soundproof. Every weekend, people are all around here and I've come out here and there is vomit. It's disgusting. [I] want them to go,” she said.

Alarcon denied that customers leaving Casa de Pedro have been a problem and said the noise level is a non-issue. His nephew and co-owner, Luis Maggioli, said he even purchased a decibel reader on to prove it.

“I used it on a Friday night at 1 in the morning, starting in here inside the restaurant with about 150 people," he said. "I went into the residential building and I could not hear any music all the way up to the third floor.”

One resident contacted by WGBH, a writer named Ann, who also declined to give her last name, said she has never been to the restaurant but she's also never heard noise coming from it.

Alarcon, a robust heavy-set man who smiles even as he’s lamenting, immigrated from Venezuela 34 years ago. He said he doesn’t believe neighbors are really concerned about the music, but rather his diverse patrons. In fact, in emails, the restaurant’s landlord wrote that the "promotion of the venue as a nightclub is clearly attracting a clientele that is not appropriate for our luxury apartment building."

The landlord maintains the issue is business, nothing more.

Theonie J. Alicandro is chief operating officer of Drew Company, Incorporated, on the 9th floor of another building in the Seaport. She explained that Alarcon and Maggioli owe nine months of back rent and that is why the company has gone to court to have the restaurant evicted. When asked about that email regarding the "inappropriate clientele," Alicandro said she was referring to individuals leaving the restaurant intoxicated, rowdy and loud, not anyone's skin color, ethnicity or class.

The landlord's assessment is supported by a Waterside Place resident named Michael. Though he said he wants the restaurant to stay open, he takes issue with the contention that critics in the building are driven by racial or ethnic prejudice.

“I mean, this whole place is nothing but a mixture of people, everywhere. If anyone wanted to write an article about people who are being discriminated against, how about the white WASP? We're a dead, we're a dying breed,” he said.

But Casa de Pedro employee and Alarcon's niece, Alexa Tyce, said what she’s heard from a handful of residents suggests that discrimination against people of color is definitely in play. She said she's witnessed ethnic slurs hurled at her and other employees. And she’s exhausted by it, she said.

"It is shocking to think that we are in 2018 in a very well-developed city and this is still happening,” said Tyce.

Whether or not this is an issue of racism, or as the landlord contends, purely business, it is true that few Latino or African-American residents or businesses in Boston call the Seaport home. And the short list of companies owned by people of color here is about to become shorter.

At 11 pm on a recent Friday at Casa de Pedro, only a handful of people were in the restaurant or on the dance floor, perhaps signaling that the night — and the restaurant itself — are coming to an early end.