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BPDA orders Winthrop Square tower to open a public space to the public seven days a week

The BPDA this week sternly wagged its administrative finger at Millennium Partners for shutting a supposedly public part of its Winthrop Square tower to the public on weekends even though it had promised to keep "The Connector" open every day of the week as part of its conditions for winning BPDA approval to replace a condemned city parking garage with a sleek 21st-century complex of offices, luxury apartments and restaurants.

The Fort Pointer got ahold of a copy of a letter from BPDA Director James Arthur Jemison to Millennium Partners principal Joseph Larkin about the situation after "members of the community informed our staff that Connector was locked and inaccessible on weekends."

Accessibility to the Connector that is less than 16 hours a day, 7 days a week for 52 weeks a year does not meet the commitment memorialized [in the agreement with the city]. ... While changes are allowed under certain conditions, it has not been demonstrated that there was a justified reason for the closure in this case, nor was any prior written notice provided to the BPDA. ...

We expect you to take appropriate action to ensure the Connector can remain open to the public 7 days a week, as required by the Management and Operation Agreement and Rules and Regulations of the Connector.

In his April 16 letter, Jemison gave Millennium Partners seven days to respond "detailing your course of action to remedy your non-compliance."

Millennium Partners describes the Connector:

A grand and beautiful ground-floor concourse linking Federal and Devonshire Streets, The Connector is part living room and part performance space—cozy and comfortable in the gathering areas and vibrant and ever-changing in the central core. Come down for lunch and catch a performance by a local choir, dance troupe, or music ensemble. After work, check out a TED Talk, ballet performance, art exhibit, fashion show, or other exclusive event featuring the best arts and culture Boston has to offer.

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Comments

… breaking their promises? It seems bait and switch is standard practice with them and many other developers.

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Voting closed 69

No corporate lobby for me this Saturday. Guess my pals and I will have to find a new place for intellectual discussion and chasin' the muff around.

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Voting closed 38

What about the new Hancock the oldish Hancock 200 Clarendon? Didn't they renege on access to their observation deck in 2001 "for security reasons" and never re-open it?

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Voting closed 59

good point! let’s get that reopened too!

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Voting closed 48

...and find the keys to the top floor of the building by the Moakley Bridge, too!

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Voting closed 17

IIRC the problem was that the BRA/BPDA couldn't find the agreement regarding the Hancock Tower's permits and therefore had no way to enforce it. Hopefully that lesson is why they still have a copy of this one....

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Voting closed 39

If they could not find he document - or copies - then was there a cache of documents lost as well?

The BPDA/BRA is like the BPD. Overall legal and legit but with a vein of corruption. For the BRA/BPDA the corruption is in their given and take with developers and large building owners relationships. The kind of relationships which are based on scratch my back and I'll scratch yours. The BPD vein of corruption being based on details.

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Voting closed 28

Years ago a friend of a friend reported that he was in a high level meeting with the BPDA (at the time called the BRA). As the meeting started, he took out a pad of paper and picked up a pen. They looked at him, and incredulously asked, “what are you doing? You can’t take notes at our meetings.”

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Voting closed 27

I used to work in that condemned municipal parking lot. IIRC it had three underground layers with bullet indentations in every steel door. I wonder what happened to that third level?

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Voting closed 17

oriented toward a weekday lunch crowd; I wonder how they feel about having to open on weekends.

I am also surprised that one of them, a burrito / bowl place called Ariana, hasn't been sued by the Aghan place of the same name in Allston that opened in 2010.

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Voting closed 21

This is on them and the landlord if it wasn't explained or known that the facility is contractually obligated to be open 7 days a week.

Good on BPDA for trying to enforce that stipulation even if it took a lot of prodding to get them to that point.

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Voting closed 22

Technically, it’s the space that has to be open.

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Voting closed 34

This whole "Great Hall" has been a giant disappointment from the start. The original vision was pretty cool but it got whittled down to nothing more than a mediocre office food court.

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Voting closed 13

Promises, promises.

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Voting closed 6