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millennium partners winthrop square development

Why Is The Winthrop Square Project Casting a Shadow of a Doubt On the Minds of the Public?

Yesterday, the Boston City Council held an open forum at City Hall to discuss the pros and cons of the proposed Winthrop Square redevelopment. This project, lead by developers Millennium Partners, would revitalize an area that currently surmounts to an unused, eyesore of a parking lot, and transform it into a stunning 755 foot mixed-use tower. An added benefit would be the city windfall of up to $153 million, which would be used for affordable housing and the maintenance and upgrade of the city’s parks.

 

Millennium Partners has created a robust economic development strategy that would increase the vibrancy of Downtown Boston for years to come, through dynamic programming, environmental sustainability and a commitment to the development of women and minorities in the workforce. More housing. More local business. More jobs. Better parks and public spaces. And more funding for affordable housing. Sounds great, right? So why is this project creating such controversy?

 

It all has to do with shadows. Current shadow laws would only allow for about a 400 foot tall building on the parcel the Millennium Partners are eyeing, in order to avoid casting shadows on the Commons and Public Gardens. But, how much would we really be affected? The proposed building would only add 5 more minutes of shadow on the Public Gardens and 30 minutes more on the Boston Commons in the morning. There wouldn’t be any shadows past 9:30 a.m. Current law allows for long (5-6 hour) shadows to be cast on the commons,  but this statute would eliminate that in exchange for the early morning shadows. The request isn’t to allow this new development to cast shadows, that is already possible. The issue at hand is that the Winthrop Square garage location isn’t currently in the Midtown Cultural District which eliminates it from being able to use any of the current shadow allotment. Millennium Partners is requesting the city rezone Winthrop Square so it can be subject to the CURRENT shadow laws, and allow the project to move forward. 

 

Would you accept 30 more minutes of shadow in the early morning (as opposed to potentially hours of shade during the afternoon as currently possible) in exchange for millions in funding to improve Boston’s overall infrastructure? I know I would. #letbostonrise

Could this be Millennium Tower’s new neighbor?

At a small, unassuming downtown site at the corner of Washington and Bromfield, Midwood Investments and Development has been planning a revised proposal for a new, shiny high-rise. Originally proposed at the trough of the Great Recession’s downward plunge, this development has been on the back-burner. No longer! The city’s recent development boom has added new life to Midwood’s intentions, in addition to 100+ condos and 31 extra floors. One Bromfield is located between Millennium Tower and 45 Province; Two condo buildings who’s views would be impacted by any development on this site greater than 10 stories. There will likely be significant push back from these neighbors during the approval process. Stay tuned for a detailed breakdown of the project specifics.

8 Major Proposals for Winthrop Square

Averaging 690 feet tall, 345 residential units and a healthy mix of commercial and retail elements, these 8 proposals for the Winthrop Square garage parcel represent one of the next new developments in Downtown Boston. In continuation of the recent trend to build up, all of the proposals are tall.  Steve Belkin originally called for a 1000 foot tower at the site. His latest rendition is a more modest 740 feet. The current location sports an ugly parking garage, albeit low-profile. Among the bids is Millennium Partners who are nearing completion of Millennium Tower just a few blocks away. Millennium Tower is the first of the uber-residential towers being built in Boston. Demand for luxury condos in [Downtown] Boston is significant; Evident from the ~415 units sold in the Tower over the last 18 months. Supply is still much below a healthy average, even in light of Boston’s recent development boom, given many of these projects will be completing in the next 2-4 years. They will all be selling pre-completion which offers an interesting opportunity to, in essence, purchase a real estate option in Boston with around 20% down, prior to completion. If you’re interested in a specific development or to find out more about pre-sale opportunities, feel free to reach out. I’m always happy to chat.

Aside from the residential portion of these buildings, I’m most excited for what commercial or retail space will be developed at the Winthrop Square site. With such a limited footprint to work with [in Boston], it’s important to take this opportunity to create spaces that will help activate the neighborhood. This particular block is predominantly commercial and adding retail + housing will help to keep the area alive after 6pm. Boston is in need of a true urban neighborhood and this project conveniently positions itself between the Downtown Crossing and Broad Street residential corridors of Boston’s Downtown/Financial Districts. Hotel components will also help to create more of a 24/7 atmosphere. I’m really looking forward to seeing who will be handed the reins of this parcel. Stay tuned!