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For Filene's Site Builder, Game-Changing Mojo from NYC to JP

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To understand the lead developer behind the mother of all recent Boston towers, that which is planned for the old Filene's site in Downtown Crossing, one should look at three prior developments: the Ritz-Carlton complex a few blocks away; the realignment of the Orange Line in the 1970s; and a 47-story tower on Manhattan's Upper West Side. All were game-changers in their own ways, suggesting that the tower planned by Millennium Partners off Washington Street could and probably will be just the same.

· The Ritz-Carlton complex had plenty of haters when Millennium, led in Boston by New Jersey native and Harvard man Anthony Pangaro, proposed it. It was on the edge of the Combat Zone; it didn't stand a chance against the crime and the grime; it was wishful thinking. But it worked. Per Casey Ross in The Globe:

[I]n the years since its opening, the Ritz has done more to wash the Combat Zone from city maps than perhaps any other single development, with its upscale restaurants and retail stores, a movie theater, and hundreds of new residents. Millennium “made a big investment in a site that a lot of other people overlooked,’’ said Thomas O’Brien, who was director of the Boston Redevelopment Authority when Pangaro and his partners pitched the project.


· Pangaro joined the BRA after graduating Harvard, and then was tapped by Governor Frank Sargent to lead the $1 billion realignment of the Orange Line. It was a thankless task, but one that Pangaro navigated, according to contemporaries, with attention to detail and a certain sympathy for those who would be affected. Like elderly Jamaica Plain resident Charlotte Herde, who wanted a station at Stony Brook. At public meetings, Herde spoke of a prior train station on the property that she remembered from childhood, when she would ride the train into the city with her father. ... Herde even produced the ticket stubs she had kept from those trips to prove she wasn’t crazy, or senile. Eventually, after much haranguing, the state decided to build the station, and Pangaro asked that it include a small, but lasting, monument to Herde’s advocacy: He got her ticket stubs enlarged and embedded into the walls of the station, where they are still posted today.


[Curbed New York]

· Finally, farther down I-95 a particular tower developed by Millennium offers further proof of how their developments can change whole urban swaths. When Millennium built the Park Millennium apartment-and-retail tower on West 67th Street, New York City was still emerging from the bad, old days (it was the early 1990s), and such large-scale development, especially in that area, was considered iffy. It was similar to the doubts surrounding the Ritz-Carlton at the edge of the Combat Zone.

Nevertheless, Millennium's tallest tower to date, at 545 feet, became a game-changer for the lower Upper West Side. Within 10 years, that area of Manhattan was just about totally changed, with the dual-tiered Time Warner Center following Park Millennium into the air at the turn of the century. Above is a floorplan of one of the Park Millennium's penthouses. You get the idea of this firm's ambitions. Bring it.

· Developer's Golden Touch Put to the Test [Globe]
· Filene's Site to Be Filled! Ritz Developer Behind New Tower [Curbed Boston]

Old Filene's Site

426 Washington Street, Boston, MA