The Menino administration is considering a tax break for the Millennium Tower project that is finally being built in Downtown Crossing and officials are saying the goal is to get this project done. This is an extreme departure from the angry reaction the Mayor had 3 years ago when the same request was made by the prior owner of the site during the recession.
Recall the arrested development project at the Filene's site before Millennium Partners took over. Since 2008, then owner, Vornado Trust of New York, left a gaping hole in the heart of Boston for all to see. Vornado Chairman Steve Roth, publicly admitted in 2010 that he lets development sites sit long enough to become a blight on the city to lure tax incentives. Hizzoner was not happy with this statement or Roth and blasted him in an open letter stating, "You can't make a fool out of this city with a big hole downtown. I can't allow that to happen." Needless to say, Vornado never got their tax concessions and the big gaping hole remained an open wound in Boston's downtown core.
Fast forward to 2013, a lot of activity and noise is going at the former Filene's site. Millennium Partners, who took over ownership of the site in 2011, is busily filling the hole with a 625-foot luxury condo aptly named Millennium Tower. Interestingly enough, the BRA recently confirmed that there is a possibility of a tax deal for Millennium Partners for the very same site that Menino adamantly said "no" to 3 years ago. What's the difference now? Just about everything apparently. Globe reports that BRA spokesperson Melina Schuler stated, "This is a different time, a different developer, and a different project." With all the new residential towers going up around town (just check out our residential heatmap!), is it necessary for any breaks to be given? Millennium Place isn't the only luxury condo going up, so why is the only one that's asking for a hand out?
• Filene's Project May Get Tax Break From Boston [Globe]
• Downtown Crossing's Filene's Site, East Boston Casino: Tied? [Curbed Boston]
• Our Updated Residential Heatmap:66 Projects and Counting [Curbed Boston]