Downtown Crossing is currently shellacking Beacon Hill in the first round of the Curbed Boston Cup. No doubt this is in large part due to the changes happening in the neighborhood—or, we should say, the promise of changes in the neighborhood. A pitch-perfect illustration of Downtown Crossing's promise of change is the Walgreens set to open in the old Borders space on Boylston. The 25,000-square-foot "gourmet" joint promises not just the standard accoutrements of a drug store, but things like a sushi bar, a smoothie bar and a so-called Beverage Wizard, a touch-screen monster that helps you select the right alcohol for your next dinner party.
A similar thing happened in downtown New York in 2011 in Donald Trump's 40 Wall Street: a giant Duane Reade (which is owned by Walgreens) opened in the city's Financial District, with many of the same bells and whistles; it was immediately hailed as a sign of the neighborhood's shift from sleepy commercial backwater that shut down at close-of-business-day to 24-7 residential destination. And, unlike the condo towers going up that averaged more than $1,000 a square foot or the gleaming skyscrapers, including Goldman Sachs' new headquarters, the Duane Reade was wide-open.
We're likely about to see the same thing in Downtown Crossing. New residential developments, like the mother of all recent Boston towers, the Millennium Tower, promise as many as 1,200 new apartments and condos in the neighborhood and immediate surrounding area. There are supposed to be serious streetscape changes, too, to make things more pedestrian friendly. As many as 10 new restaraunts are scheduled to open. And then there's the Walgreens, a place accentuating how its hundreds (thousands?) of new residents and workers will actually live day to day in the neighborhood. It's not a gleaming tower few can afford. It's not a park bench most will walk by. Set to open in the spring, the drug store, believe it or not, is perhaps the most visible (and most democratic) sign of Downtown Crossing's change.
· Welcoming Walgreens [Herald]
· Curbed Cup 1st Round: (3) Beacon Hill vs. (14) Downtown Xssing [Curbed Boston]
· If the South End Can Do It... Downtown Crossing's Changes [Curbed Boston]
· Millennium Place and the Rise of Gated Communities Downtown [Curbed Boston]