They’re Finally Filling in the Filene’s Hole in Downtown Crossing
Workers will spend the entire weekend putting concrete into the empty spot that marks the district.
This weekend, 600 trucks from Suffolk Construction will perform aÂ 6,000Â cubic-yard continuous mat slab concrete pourÂ into one of Bostonâ€™s most notorious landmarks: the deep, desolate Filene’s hole cratered in the center of Downtown Crossing, which has been left vacant for years.
The filling of the massive gap thatâ€™s scarred the cityâ€™s bustling shopping destination marks a pivotal point in the changing landscape of an area thatâ€™s been marred by misconception. The concrete pour, which is expected to take 36 hours, is a starting point for a new wave of developments taking over the streetscape, forging a fresh path for the district.Â â€śWe are definitely seeing the momentum of the renaissance of Downtown Crossing continue,â€ť said Rosemarie Sansone, president of the Downtown Crossing Business Improvement District. â€śYou can see the excitement that people have.â€ť
Two years ago, Sansone sat on a panel of expert speakers, during an event hosted by Suffolk University, and listened in as they discussed ways they could â€śrevitalize the heart of the Hub.â€ť At the time, it seemed as though it would take a lot of work to draw people toward Downtown Crossing. But not long after that meeting, as developers started to push large projects through with some elbow grease from former mayor Tom Menino, others seemed to follow. â€śWe are definitely moving in the right direction, and we are excited about some of the new startup companies that are moving here,â€ť said Sansone. â€śBut we are not where we need to be as far as work being completed.â€ť
Adding the concrete to the Fileneâ€™s hole, which is part of the multi-million dollar Millennium Tower and Burnham Building development project, headed by Millennium Partners, is a significant step forward for Downtown Crossing. Once finished, the hole will be replaced with a 60-story glass towerÂ that will rise 625-feet into the Boston skyline, and feature luxury residential condominiums and other retail space.
While the project is underway, the nearby Summer Street will be repaved. Â Then in September, advertising firm Arnold Worldwide will move its headquarters to the Burnham Building, which is part of the redevelopment and sits adjacent to the hole. By 2015, a Roche Bros. grocery store and Primark clothing shop are slated to slip in just a few floors below them. Just recently, Downtown Crossing became home to a Legal Seafoods spin-off, called Legal Crossing, and a larger-than-normal Walgreens, as well.
â€śItâ€™s a lot of stuff,â€ť said Sansone.
But everyone seems ready.Â â€śThis is the last obstacle before the rebirth of [Downtown Boston],â€ť said Christopher Jeffries, founding partner of the company Millennium Partners, back in September. â€śI am confident it will become the top place for property and retail.â€ť
Sansone said smaller initiatives have been slowly rolled out in recent weeks, including way-finding maps to make navigating Downtown Crossing easier for both longtime residents and first-time visitors. Patrols in the area have also been increased after two recent unprovoked assaults brought flashbacks of Downtown Crossingâ€™s old neighborhood vibe to the public eye.
Sansone said she expects all of the changes will make the districtâ€”which already attracts hundreds of thousands of people due to its proximity to three major transit stopsâ€”a major destination location. â€śPeople can see the differences. They see that itâ€™s much cleaner, and they can see that people are paying attention to it. Are we absolutely where we want to be at this point? No. It takes a long time for these things to become what they need to be,” she said. “But we have more development going on in this district than probably anywhere else in the city…there’s a lot happening here.â€ť
Source URL: http://www.bostonmagazine.com/news/blog/2014/04/25/downtown-crossing-filenes-hole-concrete/