Such Great Heights

With the new TD Towers project, Boston’s skyline gets a controversial makeover.


Illustration by Steven Olimpio. Click to view larger.

The West End—once a lively mixed-use neighborhood of immigrants, now a catchall for big government and big sports—was built low and wide. But with Tom Menino’s last-minute approval of a $1 billion, 45-story complex to rise above the TD Garden, one of the city’s last mid-rise frontiers has been breached. Not everyone is thrilled with this vertical progress; members of the Boston Garden Impact Advisory Group, for instance, have argued that the neighborhood’s streets were not designed to withstand the increased traffic, and that the project opens the door to many more like it, which would turn the West End into another skyscraper orchard. It’s not hard to see where they’re coming from. When you compare the project with towers elsewhere in Boston, it fits right in. But as you can see above, it will dwarf its neighbors in the West End.