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Boston Harbor Garage tower could hinge on New England Aquarium deal

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The New England Aquarium wants a guarantee that the Chiofaro Company, would-be re-developer of the neighboring Boston Harbor Garage, will underwrite the institution’s financial survival amid what could be three years of construction.

Aquarium officials tell the Globe’s Tim Logan that the institution currently operates on razor-thin margins, and work on turning the garage into a tower full of residences, retail, and offices could tip it permanently into the red.

It’s not clear if Chiofaro, which has been trying for eons to replace the garage it owns, will take the aquarium’s bait (it has also asked for a 1,000-foot extension of the Rose Kennedy Greenway, dubbed the Blueway). But the aquarium has asked that officials give it and the developer more time to negotiate.

What’s at stake? Potentially one of the tallest towers in Boston. A rezoning approval in early March appeared to clear the way for Chiofaro’s latest plans: a 600-foot, mixed-use tower.

Another sign-off is needed from the state, and it’s not clear if Chiofaro’s plans have changed (as they have done so in the past, usually because of opposition like the aquarium’s). Stay tuned.