Yesterday's announcement by Indianapolis-based mega-mall developer Simon Property Group to build all 48 of the required affordable-housing apartments within its 47-story addition to Copley Place in Back Bay was heralded by both sides of the often rancorous debate. Recall that the Boston Redevelopment Authority the week before Thanksgiving unanimously approved the 318-unit development that would be Boston's tallest condo tower and that would also add 115,000 square feet of luxury retail, despite vociferous protest, including an "Occupy the Mayor's Office" rally, which, surprisingly, did not sway the mayor. Opponents stayed after the city and Simon, however, and scored yesterday's victory.
Opponents apparently want more from Simon than the required 15 percent of Copley Place units as affordable housing. Simon says no to that. Per Casey Ross in The Globe:
Neighbors and public officials yesterday welcomed the news that additional affordable units will be built in the tower itself. “This is a great step forward, and I’m glad to see that the mayor has pushed the developer on this,’’ said state Representative Byron Rushing, a Boston Democrat whose district includes the project. Rushing said that he is still urging Simon to increase the percentage of affordable units to 25 percent, a gesture he said would show that Simon is willing to provide the community with a significant benefit in exchange for the right to build the skyscraper. That would add another 32 affordable units to the tower, for a total of 80.
“We’re going to do what the city requires, and that’s 15 percent affordable housing,’’ Hobbs responded. “That’s what is asked from all developers, and I don’t know why we should be different.’’
The development is moving forward with the city's renewed blessing and with an expectation by even some opponents that it could improve the area. Simon has agreed to spend $1 million on public art, to upgrade the entrance to Southwest Corridor Park, and to build an indoor public garden at the corner of Dartmouth and Stuart streets. Now, about those shadows...
· Copley Tower to House Affordable Units on Site [Globe]
· Boston's Tallest Condo Tower Gets More Affordable Housing [Curbed Boston]
· Boston's Tallest Condo Tower O.K.'d Despite 'Occupy' [Curbed Boston]
· Opponents to Menino on Copley Place: Not a 'Done Deal' [Curbed Boston]