Boston is riding the crest of what city officials say is the biggest building boom in its history, with cranes lifting glassy towers into place and raising the city’s unassuming profile. The surge of construction is also plunging some of its most cherished sites into deepening shadow, testing state laws that have long balanced economic development with protection of sunlight and open space.
The concern is not merely about preserving a glimpse of sky in the increasingly vertical downtown or about the risks of darkness to plants, historic buildings and even humans. It is also about whether the city is going down a road of no return by trading away, one piece at a time, its intangible assets, like sunlight on its signature parks and public access to its gleaming waterfront.
Rendering of Accordia Partners’ proposed tower. Credit: Boston Globe
The shuttered garage that falls between Devonshire and Federal Street in the core of Boston’s Financial District shines brightly as an opportunity for eight suitors to make their mark on the Boston Skyline. Tenants in recent quarters have flocked Downtown to take advantage of value rents and infrastructure driving office vacancy down to 10 percent.
The Boston Globe details the eight developers “have filed proposals for a skyscraper, several of which would be nearly as tall as the city’s largest, the Hancock Tower, on the site of a city-owned parking garage that is now closed. The competitors include a who’s who of local and national developers, a measure of how strong Boston’s real estate market has become…If approved, the Winthrop Square project would add another tower to the fast-changing Boston skyline. Already, five towers over 600 feet are proposed or are being built while other large complexes are under development downtown.”