The Boston Redevelopment Authority approved a new $615 million project Thursday night, to the delight of numerous meeting attendees. The Millennium Tower project is being led by Millennium Partners LLC, who purchased control of the former One Franklin development after Vornado Realty failed to produce results in developing the Downtown Crossing block. After years of blight and uncertainty for the Downtown Crossing neighborhood, the future looks bright once again.
The Millennium Tower project will be filling the brick and concrete strewn crater at the corner of Washington and Franklin, which was the result of Vornado’s foolish partial demolition of the Filene’s building despite a lack of financing to actually build. The hole – which has blighted the neighborhood and has been criticized by many local businesses as reducing the amount of foot traffic in the area – will be replaced with a 625 foot glass residential tower. The tower will include 600 condo and apartment units, which will alleviate the demand for more units and help reduce the cost of housing in Boston.
The project also includes the restoration of the 1912 Burnham Building on the other half of the block, which was a part of the Filene’s building that Vornado partially demolished.
The Burnham Building will contain 125,000 square feet of office space. In total, the entire project will feature 122,000 square feet of retail on the lower floors, taking full advantage of its urban surroundings while also bolstering pedestrian volume that other businesses depend on.
The project was heralded at the Boston Redevelopment Authority meeting by area business owners, property owners, residents, construction workers, and local politicians alike. When it came time for public testimony, all present spoke in favor of the project, with none speaking in opposition. For a project of such a large scale, this shows just how desperately the city wants this project to happen, as towers tend to evoke fear and opposition from many neighbors.
Luckily for the city of Boston, the project is in good hands; Millennium Partners has a proven record of success in Boston. The firm was behind Millennium Place, just a couple blocks away, which hosts the Ritz Carlton Hotel and AMC Loews Theatre. They’re also in the process of constructing a new project across Washington Street from the Paramount Theatre on a former parking lot. Millennium Partners is almost single handedly driving the reactivation and success of Washington Street through these developments. The Millennium Tower project will, in all likelihood, be a quality development and potentially the most important project in Downtown Crossing’s history.