Let Boston Fly: Massport Opposes Winthrop Square Tower’s Height

The airport operator says the height of the proposed skyscraper would be disruptive to planes.


Handel Architects

Height remains a persistent problem for the developers who plan to build a new skyscraper in Downtown Crossing’s Winthrop Square. You can now count the Massachusetts Port Authority, the entity that runs Logan Airport, among those calling for a more modestly sized tower in the heart of Boston.

Massport says a 775-foot tower, which Millennium Partners has planned for the lot currently occupied by a government-owned parking garage, would be so tall that it would disrupt flight patterns from Logan, which sits two miles to its east. It wants Millennium to stunt the tower’s height to about 710 feet, according to the Globe.

This comes after the New York developer has also heard calls from those citing a law forbidding new construction that casts long shadows over Boston Common, another hurdle for the $1 billion project.

Objections to the height of the tower inspired a campaign, apparently led by Millennium, called Let Boston Rise, designed to spur support for the tower as an economic driver in the city.

If it were built in all its 775-foot glory, it would be the third-tallest building in Boston.

The deal Millennium struck to scrap the parking garage and build a skyline-reshaping condo, office, and retail structure downtown includes about $153 million in payments to the city: $10 million for the plot of land, $92 million post-permit approval, and $50.8 million from condo sales. It stands to reason that, as the Globe‘s Tim Logan writes, shortening the tower could dip into both Millennium’s profits and the cut for the city. But it could also appease those concerned about shadows and, now, about the trouble the building could cause Boston’s busy airport.