One of our 10 Projects to Watch in 2014 is the massive redevelopment of Boston's Government Center Garage. It's slated to add 812 residences, 1.1 million square feet of office space, 196 hotel rooms, and new retail, including restaurants along the Greenway, in an effort to finally better connect the West End with the rest of downtown. The first of six planned buildings, a 480-foot residential tower, could get under way this year.
The plan, game-change-y as it is, is not the Government Center Garage's first time at the redevelopment rodeo. There was once another bold scheme, though one with terrible timing.
The Raymond Property Co. had proposed building two office towers of 42 and 52 stories as part of a mixed-use development (rendered) that would have seen the 2,300-space garage demolished. Its 2,000-space replacement was to have been hidden by shops, restaurants and a hotel around the office towers. The idea, as The Boston Globe explained at the time, was to "extend the Financial District down Congress Street and open up a corridor whose continuity was interrupted by construction of the garage in the early 1970s." The first buildings were to be finished in 2014.
But! Raymond pitched its redevelopment plan right around when Lehman Brothers collapsed in September 2008. The entire economy went into free-fall, exacerbating an already tight financing market. Things went from bad to worse for big-time projects like this, especially office-heavy ones at a time when the unemployment rate was spiking. Raymond's plan was finally nixed in early 2010, clearing the way for the current gambit from the HYM Investment Group.
· High-Rises May Replace Government Center Garage [Globe]
· Transforming Greater Boston: 10 Projects to Watch in 2014 [Curbed Boston]
· Our Curbed's Could Have Been archive [Curbed Boston]