The long-time eyesore and hole in the soul of Boston’s downtown shopping area is finally getting fixed up.
Members of the city’s Boston Redevelopment Authority unanimously voted Thursday to move forward with the construction and completion of the Millennium Tower and Burnham Building in Downtown Crossing, where currently a vacant space haunts the city center.
“I am proud of the decisive progress being made by Millennium Partners just 8 months after announcing their lead on the Millennium Tower and Burnham Building,” said Mayor Tom Menino. “This iconic development will invigorate the heart of our city with new residents, business owners, and private investment, solidifying the promise of Downtown Crossing.”
The $615 million project will feature a 625-foot residential tower as well as include sprucing up the Burnham building, the ground level portion of the former Filene’s department store that was built in 1912.
Menino called this part of the restoration of the Burnham section the “keystone to this redevelopment.”
Construction should begin by the middle of next year, officials said.
The project will include roughly 600 new condos, 231,000 square-feet of retail space, restaurants and a health club. It will also call for $2.8 million worth of street scape improvements. The changes will be a vast difference from the abandoned space and massive crater where Filene’s once was.
Members of the BRA said the large, gleaming tower is shaped as a “wedge” and will “maximize daylight to offices in the Burnham Building and lower floors.”
Upon completion, retail entryways and display windows will be featured along the entire block of Washington Street and face Franklin Street. Employees who get the luxury of working in the new building will enter on Summer Street, and residents will enter on Franklin Street.
At the start of the summer, officials mulled ways to bring new life to this portion of Boston during a seminar held at Suffolk University.