Few individuals in the last half-century or thereabouts have so indelibly affected the everyday streetscape and built environment of Boston than Tom Menino. The city's longest-serving mayor, who left office at the start of 2014 after 20 years, died today at age 71 from cancer. From the Seaport to Roxbury to Southie to the South End, here are projects and efforts that Menino pushed that will last longer than all of us (as for the Boston Redevelopment Authority he built up, it's hard to say).Read More
Boston Mayor Tom Menino's Greatest Real Estate Hits
East Boston Waterfront
In late 2011, Mayor Menino announced an ambitious plan to jumpstart nearly $600 million in development along the East Boston waterfront, development that could create up to 1,800 housing units and that would be partly dependent on beefed-up water transit. Part of it, the 176-unit Portside at Pier One, is under construction.
It's almost impossible to overstate the effect this Menino-made district has had on the city's economic-development psyche. It doesn't really exist as a definable neighborhood, but the Innovation District has come to represent all that is forward-looking in Boston's commercial growth. It's tech and biotech and micro-apartments and Seaport Square, oh my!
Woah, Nellie! What will be Boston's tallest residential tower was once a gaping hole in the ground, something that never ceased to be a stone in Menino's shoe. The hole was left by Jersey developer Vornado Realty, who in mid-2008, ceased development of a 39-story tower to replace the old Filene's building. It's not entirely clear what happened, but Vornado, after being relentlessly criticized for inaction by the mayor, tucked tail in early 2011, and cleared the way for Ritz-Carlton developer Millennium Partners to step in. Like it or not, the tower will likely forever change luxury pricing in downtown Boston as well as the expectation of buyers in the area.
Menino hailed from Hyde Park, a neighborhood far from the glitz and glam of Back Bay et al. Which helps explain his dedication to building up neighborhoods from the street. The rehab of the Ferdinand Building in Dudley Square into a modern office complex for the city schools' HQ is a prime example of this. The Ferdinand redo is expected to jumpstart other development in surrounding Roxbury.
The Downtown BID
Menino championed the idea of a Downtown Boston Business Improvement District as far back as the mid-1990s, seeing the plan die in the state Legislature time and again. The BID, covering 34 blocks and 35 million square feet of office space, finally launched in 2011.Part of its charge, which will be particularly felt in Downtown Crossing, is to foment a sort of 24-7 vibe for the area, the kind of place people would both like to work and live.
1 Dalton Street
The tower on Christian Science Plaza, approved in the waning days of Menino's administration, will be 699 feet, making it not only by far the tallest residential tower in Boston but the third-tallest overall, behind office giants the Pru and the John Hancock.It will include 211 hotel rooms on the first 20 floors and 180 condos over the rest of the 60 stories. And! Those rooms and residences shall be managed by the Four Seasons. Like the Millennium Tower, it will surely change the perception of the possible in downtown Boston.
TD Garden Towers
Menino provided millions in tax breaks to move this forest of buildings along. It's the sort of large-scale, transformative project he seemed to relish, especially in the last years of his administration.The $950 million complex around TD Garden will include three towers, the tallest reaching 600 feet. The buildings will contain a 306-room hotel; 668,000 square feet of offices; almost 500 residences; and retail, including a Star Market.
Mayor Thomas M. Menino Park
This particular park, which is accessible for children and adults with physical challenges, opened in late 2013, as Menino was ending his epic mayoralty. Named after the mayor, who recuperated from earlier illnesses at a neighboring rehabilitation center, the park is also one of many he championed. He was also, it should be remembered, a fan of parklets.
The 'Upper' South End
Several large-scale residential projects are going up a in the South End's northeastern corner, near where I-90 meets I-93: the Ink Block, Sepia Boston, Troy Boston (pictured), 600 Harrison Avenue, 345 Harrison Avenue and more, including attendant streetscape improvements such as dog parks and Whole Foods! The project(s) speak to Menino's almost fanatical pace of promotion when it came to new development.