Don Chiofaro Wants to Make a Deal

The downtown developer thinks his project needs some help in order to get off the ground.

Don Chiofaro's Tower

A rendering of Don Chiofaro’s planned Boston Harbor Garage tower.

A new report has revealed that downtown developer Don Chiofaro may be seeking some form of tax break in order to build his planned 1.3 million square foot complex on a space currently occupied by a gross concrete nine floor parking garage.

The Boston Globe reported on Tuesday that Chiofaro raised the possibility of a tax break with the Boston Redevelopment Authority during a July meeting. Chiofaro’s group told the BRA that they “believe they can make a project work” according to recently hammered out zoning restriction on the site if they receive some form of tax breaks from the city.

A tax break for a major development like the one proposed by Chiofaro is actually not an uncommon occurrence in the city even though the city is going through an unprecedented building boom. A recent review found that the city has granted over 140 such breaks to developers in recent decades.

Chiofaro believes that planned development on the site—a complex that includes a pair of towers rising 600 and 400 feet, respectively—the restrictions imposed by zoning, will leave him with a $30 million budget hole.

The proposed development is still in the very early stages of planning so it’s unclear if some form of tax incentive for Chiofaro is even on the table. A BRA spokesman told the Globe that a tax incentive for the project is “not something that we have even begun to consider.”

One of the major nuggets to come out of the broadsheet’s public records request is that Chiofaro has apparently agreed to scale his project back to keep it under the 900,000 square foot zoning limit for the parcel. Of course, the original zoning for the space limited the property to structures no higher than 200-feet and no larger than 430,000 square feet.

The fact that this proposed project is even under consideration by the city is a major win for Chiofaro because he was iced out of developing in the city during the Menino administration. Chiofaro has not built anything in the city for over 28 years.