The Chiofaro Co. told the BPDA today it will soon file detailed plans for a 600-foot-tall tower to replace the garage in front of the New England Aquarium - a garage Donald Chiofaro has been trying to replace for more than a decade now, at first under the specter of a feud with then Mayor Tom Menino.
In a letter of intent, Chiofaro says its proposed tower will have 900,000 square feet of residential, office, retail and possibly hotel space and will come with more than a half-acre of public space aimed at further opening Boston Harbor to the public though "a destination outdoor gathering space" - and a new underground parking garage that will have enough space for both tenants and the public.
Chiofaro adds the project will include measures both to make the building itself able to withstand flooding from rising seas and to begin work to helping to protect downtown Boston from such flooding.
At 1.3 acres, the garage site is large enough that Chiofaro can file a "planned development area" proposal with the BPDA, under which it and the agency would toss the site's current zoning and negotiate just what can go on the parcel. As a large project, the project will also require extensive traffic studies and creation of an advisory group to study the plans in detail, as well as a public hearing before the BPDA board votes on it.
Since 2009, Chiofaro has proposed numerous ideas for the property, which at various times drew opposition from the mayor himself, the BRA, the residents of Harbor Towers and the New England Aquarium.