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Boston shadows legal change doesn’t mean much to one key state official

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Winthrop Square tower on the line

The battle over the Winthrop Square Garage tower is far from over, whatever the recent relaxation of laws governing shadows over downtown Boston locations such as the Common and the Public Garden.

That is according to Bill Galvin, whose capacity as secretary of the commonwealth makes him chairman of the Massachusetts Historical Commission—which is reviewing developer Millennium Partners’ plans for a 775-foot condo-and-office tower on the site of the garage.

Galvin is probably the most prominent—and certainly the most powerful—critic of the current tower plans. He is concerned about the shadows the tower would briefly cast on the Common, the Public Garden, the State House, etc.

Calling the relaxation of the shadow laws “unfortunate,” Galvin told WGBH on July 31 that that change “doesn’t necessarily mean the building is going to be built. There’s still a process to go through, and we’re certainly going to be part of that process.”

Galvin seems ready for a long, drawn-out review of the Winthrop Square tower, which would become New England’s tallest primarily residential building and one of the three tallest in Boston.

His historical commission cannot really eighty-six the plans—which, we should note, enjoy support from other officials, including Boston Mayor Marty Walsh—but it can delay them long enough to jeopardize financing for the project.

Millennium Partners wants to break ground in 2018. Stay tuned.