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Boston Harbor Garage redevelopment would produce 600-foot tower

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That tower—one of the tallest in New England—would include around 200 housing units

Rendering of a city skyline on a harbor, with many tall buildings. Chiofaro Company

Meet the Pinnacle at Central Wharf.

Or at least that’s what the Chiofaro Company is calling its latest attempt to redevelop the seven-story Boston Harbor Garage that it’s owned since 2007. The Boston-based developer filed its most detailed plans yet for the project on January 22, kicking off a months-long review process called Article 80.

The broad strokes of the proposal paint a picture of a 600-foot tower that would be one of the tallest U.S. buildings north of New York City and an unmistakable aesthetic presence on the waterfront via the wedding-cake-like design from Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates. Chiofaro called the tower “a signature for a new generation on the downtown skyline [and] a new ‘front porch’ for the city and the region” in a release about the January 22 filing.

The approximately 865,000-square-foot Pinnacle would include a 285,000-square-foot residential component with around 200 housing units; 538,000 square feet of what the developer described as “customizable” office space; and 42,000 square feet of publicly accessible space, including restaurants and retail.

Chiofaro also said its project would include more than 28,000 square feet of new open space and improvements to the adjacent Harborwalk. These would both be designed to complement the area’s existing attractions, according to the developer.

Rendering of a busy streetscape at the base of a tower. Chiofaro Company

“We recognize that, no matter how grand and beautifully designed, public spaces must be active in order to be successful,” Don Chiofaro Jr., Chiofaro’s vice president, said in a statement. “We look forward to engaging with Bostonians, through the Article 80 process and beyond, to explore how we can best animate the interior and exterior spaces at the new Central Wharf to appeal to the broadest cross-section of visitors.”

Chiofaro has, of course, been trying for many years to redevelop the garage. Myriad challenges have confronted the firm, including opposition from neighbors—including the New England Aquarium and the owners in the Harbor Towers condo complex—as well as financing and zoning issues.

It broached its latest plans back in November, and might have a few things going for it this go-round. One, the project aims to be especially climate-change resilient—the tower would be elevated 21.5 above sea level, for instance—at a time when Boston is urging and mandating that developers be exactly just so with their new projects.

Also, Mayor Marty Walsh has been generally supportive of Chiofaro’s efforts. And these efforts dovetail nicely with an ongoing trend in Boston of the redevelopment of parking facilities, including conventional garages.

Opposition is already lining up, though, to Chiofaro’s latest proposal. A spokesman for the Harbor Towers owners emailed the below statement a few hours after the developer announced the Article 80 filing. It referenced an ongoing lawsuit the owners are involved in against larger-scale development on the waterfront and Chiofaro’s namesake founder.

“The kind of density and intense uses that Don Chiofaro and his [financing] partner Prudential Real Estate are proposing might enhance the Financial District or Back Bay, where skyscrapers are appropriate. But, as we believe waterfront protection law states and as our ongoing lawsuit makes clear, it does not belong right on Boston’s very special harbor.”