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Rooftop Pool to Crown New Downtown Crossing Tower

Somewhere up there is a pool.

The Kensington apartment tower on lower Washington Street in Downtown Crossing will break ground this Friday on its way to 27 stories containing 381 luxury rental apartments, with shops along the ground floor and a pool on the roof. "This is a very exciting moment," Mayor Menino told The Herald.
The $172 million Kensington (so named because the developer is the Kensington Investment Company) supplants the historic Gaiety Theatre, which a motley mix of preservationists (including the owners of the Glass Slipper strip club) fought to keep. As Kristen Lombardi wrote in The Phoenix just as the fight over the Kensington got under way in 2004:

[The Gaiety] is barely visible anymore. Defunct and dilapidated, the theater, with its drab brick façade, shuttered storefronts, and boarded windows, blends imperceptibly into the last stretch of blight on lower Washington. You’d never know that it was designed by leading theater architect Clarence Blackall — of Colonial, Wilbur, and Wang fame — and has acoustics rivaling those of Jordan and Symphony Halls. Nor would you know that soon after it was built, in 1908, it helped define the emerging culture of vaudeville and burlesque in Boston, and thus the rest of the country, and that later, in the ’20s, it brought the Harlem Renaissance to the Hub. Such history was no match for the Menino administration's vision for the Midtown Cultural District, which by the end of 2004 already included a 440-unit luxury apartment tower on a nearby parking lot on Washington Street and the Ritz-Carlton Towers, where condos were asking $4 million each pre-recession. Later this fall, too, as The Herald notes, a $200 million residential project across from the Paramount Theater is expected to join the Kensington on its skyward march.

It was curtains for the Gaiety, then. Rooftop pools will not be denied.

Curtain Call [Phoenix]

Kensington Wins Another Round [Phoenix]

Hopes High as Work Set for Long-Stalled Tower [Herald]

The Kensington

659-665 Washington Street, Boston, MA