• Filene’s Tower a Rising Star: Millennium Details Plan as Crucial Reviews Loom

    Originally Published in the Boston Herald by Greg Turner

    Developer Millennium Partners heads into a key community review next week for its planned 625-foot skyscraper at the Filene’s block in Downtown Crossing. A newly formed Impact Advisory Group of neighbors and community leaders starts its review of the revised project on Monday, followed by a community meeting next Wednesday. The ramp-up in the regulatory process comes as the developer unloaded a treasure trove of details about its $615 million Millennium Tower and Burnham Building project in a 400-page filing with the Boston Redevelopment Authority. “This is a terrific milestone for the project,” said BRA spokeswoman Susan Elsbree. “This continues the momentum in Downtown Crossing, and the BRA looks forward to working with the developer and community to move this forward.” Millennium took control of the project from Vornado Realty Trust in February. Since then, the Boston Civic Design Commission has been scrutinizing the skyscraper’s design by Handel Architects, while the Boston Landmarks Commission looked at a plan to demolish what’s left of a 1905 building on the site. Millennium noted that — unlike the previously approved project that stalled in the Great Recession — its tower will stand apart from the historic Burnham Building, except for two floors of retail space running through the site along Washington Street. The wedge-shaped tower — replacing an ugly hole in the ground — would contain 600 residential units, while stores and 185,000 square feet of offices would fill up the Burnham. An underground parking garage would fit 550 cars, including 250 for the public. Millennium said it will create 2,300 jobs and contribute up to $2.8 million for streetscape upgrades. The developer hopes to start construction next spring, with the Burnham Building renovation lasting 18 months and the Millennium Tower taking three years.