• Millennium Partners: Plugging holes, lifting the profile of Downtown Crossing

    Originally Posted on the Boston Business Journal by Mike Hoban

    A solid case could be made that Millennium Partners is the MVD (Most Valuable Developer) in Boston in
    The New York firm stepped forward earlier this year to finally fill the prominent, gaping hole in the ground at
    the former site of the Filene’s department store in Boston’s Downtown Crossing neighborhood. The move,
    which saw Millennium acquire a 50 percent interest in the project, has been a welcome development among the
    property’s neighbors and, in particular, Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino. For nearly three years, the mayor
    exhausted virtually every tool short of a taking by eminent domain to pry the property away from its previous
    developer, Vornado Realty Trust of New York, and transition it into the hands of a real estate outfit willing to
    quickly build something—anything—in place of the site’s long-dormant crater.
    Millennium’s plans for the space will center around the construction of a Millennium Tower/Burnham
    Building—a mixed-use tower with 500 apartments and condominiums and apartments. Vornado remains a part
    owner in the project.
    A few blocks away, the firm is also advancing plans for a 15-story condo complex to be known as Millennium
    “We’re just one player in that revitalization,” Millennium Partners principal Joe Larkin told the BBJ. “We just
    happen to have the highest profile.”
    While Larkin downplayed the firm’s role in revitalizing one of the city’s primary retail and entertainment hubs,
    Millennium’s role in ending the prolonged, public, and bitter standoff involving Menino and Vornado Realty
    Trust cannot be overstated; the new plan has essentially removed the biggest obstacle to the mayor’s vision for
    Downtown Crossing.
    Millennium is no stranger to Downtown Crossing, having developed the Ritz-Carlton Hotel and Towers.
    The final retail/office mix for the Millennium Tower project has not yet been determined, according to Larkin.
    That said, the 54-story, 1.3 million-square-foot development plan will include a residential component with
    ample office, retail and parking space in the property’s soon-to-be-renovated Burnham building.
    Larkin is optimistic about Millennium’s prospects and Downtown Crossing.
    “When we built the Ritz Carlton, there were just a few of us (on board for the neighborhood),” said Larkin.
    “But Downtown Crossing is better than we hoped it would be.”