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If the South End Can Do It... Downtown Crossing's Changes

Everyone knows that some of the year's biggest real estate news thus far has poured forth from humble Downtown Crossing: Millennium Tower (rendered), Millennium Place, Millennium! Such news is now being cast by Mayor Menino and Co. as all but inevitable, an expected byproduct of years of effort to remake the neighborhood into a 24-7 destination. To that effect, Hizzoner will be celebrating at a block part on West Street at one of 10 new restaurants slated to open in Downtown Crossing this year (also coming: 1,200 new housing units in buildings like the Millennium twins).

Nevertheless, some Bostonians don't feel much like partying. Per Michael Levenson in The Globe: “'To me, you can buy a pair of shoes, or go to McDonald’s or Subway,' but not much else, said Devin Fields, 25, who works at Cohen’s Fashion Optical on Washington Street. 'I don’t know why people even come here.'” Ouch. “'I don’t think a street lamp is going to bring people to the area.'” Double ouch.

Still, the 1,200 housing units will bring at least 3,000 permanent residents (so sayeth the city) and the new retail will do a lot to keep them there at night and over the weekend, as will streetscape improvements like LED street signs at a dozen intersections, landscaping and new bike racks (gotta have the bike racks). If the South End could gentrify from a much more precarious starting point—and take much of the last 30 years to do so—then we say Downtown Crossing can't be far behind. [Insert disclaimer about buying in now.]

· Downtown Crossing to Get $3.2m Face Lift [Globe]
· Ladies and Gentlemen, the Millennium Tower [Curbed Boston]
· Millennium Place and the Rise of Gated Communities Downtown [Curbed Boston]

Millennium Place

580 Washington St, Boston, MA 02111