Millennium Agrees to Shorten Its Controversial Tower over Flight Concerns

The Winthrop Square building will be 75 feet shorter to avoid disruptions at Logan Airport.


Millennium Partners, the developers behind the Winthrop Square tower project in Downtown Crossing, have agreed to shorten a building that would have been so tall it disrupted flights at Logan Airport.

Now, after complaints from the airport and an avalanche of public scrutiny, Millennium says it will chop 75 feet off the top of the skyscraper—it’ll be reduced from 775 to roughly 700 feet tall, they say—to stay out of the way of planes. The announcement comes after Commonwealth‘s Jim Aloisi inveighed against the backroom deals that brought the hulking project to life and warned that some 21,000 flights would have to be diverted after the building is complete, meaning more noisy flights over Eastie and the possibility of delays on an over-stressed runway.

“Let me put this in plain English: the proposed 775 foot tower will degrade quality of life in places such as East Boston – and in communities to the west and north of Boston – because it will require flights to shift to Runway 33L, thus increasing noise impacts in those communities,” he wrote. He continued: “East Boston is my hometown and I love it deeply, and so I am writing to say enough is enough. The people of East Boston (and Chelsea, Revere, and Winthrop) should not have to endure even more noise pollution because someone wants to build a tower too tall for existing aviation safety rules.”

MassPort has been warning since January that the building might disrupt operations at the airport, but the specifics of flight disruptions were made public on Monday.

Concerns about the tower had previously been about the fact that this major addition to Boston’s skyline would cast broad new shadows on Boston Common and the Public Garden, blocking the sun for a chunk of the morning. Boston’s City Council, and then the state Legislature and Gov. Charlie Baker, signed off on an exemption to a law that would have prevented it from being built for that reason. Millennium has in exchange agreed to give the city payouts for parks, the Greenway, and housing projects.