BPDA approves Winthrop Square tower; could mean $160 million in payments to city

The BPDA board today approved Millennium Partners' plans for a $1.3-billion, mixed-use, 55-story tower at Winthrop Square that will include some $160 million in payments to the city based on how well condos in the upper floors sell.

The tower will be built on the site of a recently demolished city parking garage; the purchase payments, which will include specific funds for several city parks (more details in the comments below), are in addition to the taxes the building will generate.

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$160,000,000

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And they’re going to squander that on more parks? You can build 400 units of pretty nice housing for that. Instead, sure, let’s build parks and further deplete buildable lots. We have a beautiful park system in Boston, we are not starved for open space. Affordable housing, we are famished.

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Don't worry - housing benefits, too

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Of the $160 million, $35 million will go to fixing up the Old Colony and Orient Heights housing projects. In addition to the $160-million, Millennium Partners will contribute enough to create the equivalent of 18% of the tower's residences in off-site affordable housing, plus another $4 million toward affordable housing.

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Sources / Link

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Please.....

And if you think they are doing soil samples at all the “hot propeties” to “fix them up,” then I would love to do some contracting for you.

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For starters

These components of the deal have been well-publicized for months. They are not some secret that is hard to track down on the intertubes. I'd recommend Google, or the Globe, or ArchBoston, or Boston.com, or the Herald, or...

Secondly, you sound like a conspiracy theorist, as if these payments aren't going to be made. When the checks clear, I'd like to see you back here, hat in hand, apologizing to Adam.

Third, I'm not sure you're qualified to do any contracting besides whining.

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And?

The owners of the Garden are notorious scumbags, therefore Millennium Partners is lying? You have a strange way of producing items of discussion that you believe to be evidence.

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Think about it

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You can build plenty of housing units with that kind of money but nobody keeps track of where the money is spent when you're buying shrubs and trees..

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I thought about it. And I think you're wrong

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Parks and Recreation has a budget that the City Council holds yearly hearings on, just as with every other city department.

And the Emerald Necklace parks all have volunteer watchdog groups that would scream bloody murder if they thought they were getting shortchanged (look at the whole Common shadows issue as an example). The Rose Kennedy Greenway has its own conservancy board looking over its budget.

So, no, I'm not worried that the parks money is just going to disappear.

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More?

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adam, you wrote "for several city parks." Is it to construct new or to rehab existing?

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Let's count our blessings

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The BPDA in all their wisdom originally valued this land at like $25 million and was prepared to sell it a lot closer to that price until people like Kevin McCrea and Shirley Kressel got involved and publicized the giveaway.

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There are picnic tables in

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There are picnic tables in Franklin Park that are so rotten that the tables and benches have fallen off the frame. Existing parks cost money to maintain. A park that is not maintained becomes a place no one wants to be. I can't think of a way to spend money to benefit everyone better than on improving or creating a park.

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To be fair to your example

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Over the past few years, Franklin Park has gotten a lot of upgrades, and reconstruction continues this year.

Which, of course, cost money, so your overall point is very, very valid.

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Moan, moan, moan

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This is almost a 100% total win for the city, and a big one at that. The fact that this has been so thoroughly debated and updated and compromises made and yet it's still going forward with a nice payday is awesome!

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More details on the $160-million purchase price

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My apologies for not getting into more detail on this!

From the BPDA:

Following a comprehensive public process, the Board approved the 115 Winthrop Square project, paving the way for a $163 million payment to the City of Boston that will be invested in affordable housing and open space. Mayor Martin J. Walsh has committed funds to the Boston Common ($28 million), Franklin Park ($28 million), the Emerald Necklace ($11 million), Boston Housing Authority's Old Colony development in South Boston ($25 million) Orient Heights development in East Boston ($10 million), and $5 million for a City-held fund to benefit the Rose Kennedy Greenway. The project is expected to generate over $15 million a year in property tax revenue and make significant investments in affordable housing and workforce training programs.

Some more details.

The city doesn't (didn't?) get all the money at once; under the agreement with Millennium Partners, a big chunk of the money will come in only as it sells condos.

As Stevil notes, the BPDA and the Department of Neighborhood Development were originally planning to low-ball price the thing (BRA Director Brian Golden thought the city would be lucky to get $40 million).

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they don't care

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They get paid a lot of money to do favors for friends of the mayor. Not a knock on Walsh specifically - this goes back 50 years.

That said - this was almost one hell of a favor.

Hell - shirley kressel called me and asked what I thought it was worth - I said a) it depends what you put on it -b) I estimated around $250 million as I recall. From there take off land prep costs (garage demo) and affordable housing commitments - and you get about $150 million. this is not rocket science. Risky if the economy takes a turn - but not rocket science.

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a big chunk of the money will

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a big chunk of the money will come in only as it sells condos.

I wonder what kind of loophole the developers will come up with avoid/delay that payment. Maybe they'll AirBnb the condos instead of selling them.

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