What the Downtown Crossing Hole has to do with a Casino in Boston
As we all know, there are no coincidences in politics, so let’s do a little dot connecting.
On September 13, Boston Redevelopment Authority Director Peter Meade indicated that the city’s relations with Vornado Realty Trust, the owners of that great big hole that’s been sitting there for three years in the middle of Downtown Crossing, were thawing. Considering the ridiculously high level of tension between Mayor Tom Menino and Vornado, that was a considerable development. It’s sort of like if Bill Belichick and Derrick Mason decided to hug it out (which I hope they never do, F#&% you, Mason!). For the first time in a long time, it’s starting to look like something might actually get done at the Filene’s site.
Then, on Friday, Menino came out and publicly backed the idea of a casino at Suffolk Downs. Why is this notable? Only because Vornado owns a 20 percent stake in the East Boston track. Obviously, Menino doesn’t love the idea of Vornado making a killing on a casino in his city while also actively stalling on Boston’s most important development. But if things look like they’re moving forward at Downtown Crossing, well, that’s a different issue.
This has all come up before. In July of last year, Menino came out and backed the Suffolk Downs casino, despite Vornado’s involvement. Within days, though, he’d backtracked to saying that for the project to go forward, Vornado had to be out. This time, though, Menino said nothing about the New York developers and their stake in Suffolk Downs. He’s behind the plan, end of sentence. And don’t think there’s not a reason he waited until Friday — after word had come out about his administration and Vornado’s improved relationship — to say so.