Winthrop Square Tower Moves Forward with Key Approval

After two years of review and numerous public meetings and hearings, the Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) gave their final nod of approval to allow the 115 Winthrop Square Tower to move forward.

The tower will replace a City-owned garage with a mixed-used tower containing more than 1.6 millions square feet of residential, office, retail, restaurant, parking and other commercial space. The project is expected to contain up to 55 stories, with a building height of about 664 feet.

Millennium Partners still needs approval from the Massachusetts Historical Commission, because of shadows and other impacts on historic buildings downtown, and another round of zoning approval from the city.

The central public feature of the project is the Great Hall, an approximately 12,000 square-foot space that will serve as a cultural and commercial anchor for the project. The Great Hall will create a new pedestrian path between Federal and Devonshire streets and strengthen the connection to an enhanced Winthrop Square Park.

To ensure economic inclusion, the City of Boston has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Millennium Partners to promote economic inclusiveness and equity and provide participation, access and training opportunities.

The MOU will enhance opportunities for women and minority-owned businesses by providing at least 15 percent of the contract value of its construction and architect contracts for these firms.

The project will satisfy the City of Boston’s Inclusionary Development Policy (IDP) by creating off-site, income-restricted rental and homeownership units, currently slated for a site in Chinatown, and will contribute an additional $4 million to the IDP fund.

In addition to the $163 million payment to the City of Boston that will support affordable housing and open space, 115 Winthrop Square will generate benefits for residents of Boston including creating a energy efficient, resilient and environmentally friendly tower that will achieve LEED Platinum certifiability and adopt the principles of “Passive House Institute” design in the office component.

A fund of $125,000 annually for 40 years will go towards maintaining and improving the Boston Common, Boston Public Garden and the Commonwealth Mall to mitigate shadow impacts.

Millennium Partners will contribute $250,000 to fund a Downtown Planning Study and another $150,000 to the City of Boston Transportation Department to fund a bus rapid-transit plan.

In addition, they will generate an estimated $120,000 per year assessment toward the Downtown Boston Business Improvement District (BID) and will collaborate with the BID regarding public safety and quality-of-life issues in the downtown neighborhood.

Lastly, the project will generate about $4,795,500 in housing linkage funds and $960,250 in job linkage funds for the benefit of the city, or equivalent job and or housing creation programs.

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