The site of the former Filene’s building in downtown Boston finally has a developer committed to filling the gaping crater currently marring Downtown. According to the Boston Globe, the project to build a multi-use tower where the old Filene’s once stood has been stalled since 2008, when Vornado Realty Trust was unable to secure a loan to complete construction. Millennium Partners plans to build a tower similar to what Vornado had envisioned. It will contain residences, office space, retail stores, and restaurants. The project has been a thorn in Mayor Thomas Menino’s side since construction ceased, and even became an ugly dispute that caused the Mayor to revoke the owner’s building permits. Yet when the deal with Millennium was finalized it appeared that the City was willing to put the struggle behind it and look forward to the future.
The stalled project has been a topic of constant discussion among Bostonians, and last night City officials represented the feelings of many residents when they celebrated the resolution to one of Boston’s most arduous development projects. The new developer is well known in the area. It spearheaded construction of the Ritz’s new home on Boston Common, just down the street from the Filene’s site, and plans to build an apartment building, Hayward Place, across the street. Millennium will hire the same architect that designed both the Ritz Hotel and Towers and Hayward Place, Gary Handel Architects of Manhattan.
The building is a long-awaited addition to a neighborhood working hard to improve its image. In recent years three historic theaters have been restored on Washington Street, and a private not-for-profit corporation called the Downtown Boston Business Improvement District was formed to beautify the streets and help visitors find their way around. Bostonians eagerly await construct, set to begin within the next year.
Ross, Casey. “Deal Set for a Tower on Gaping Filene’s Site.” The Boston Globe [Boston] 3 Feb. 2012: A1+. Print.
Photo: Downtown Crossing in winter 2010, by Rob Havasy – published under Creative Com. lic.