Winthrop Tower Height Reduced Again


Millennium Partners, the developer behind Boston’s to-be Winthrop Square Tower, has once again cut down the height of the proposed structure, in a move to appease both regulators and critics.

The new design proposal arrives on the heels of the review of a 1,801-page environmental report that was released to city and state officials earlier this month.

The tower’s height, now lowered to 691 feet from 775, will still pack in 1.6 million square feet of office space and luxury condos into its 52 floors.

Shortening Tower

The first height reduction, at 702 feet, came in September 2017, after the Federal Aviation Administration issued a preliminary ruling with a “notice of presumed hazard.” The FAA noted that the height of the tower would be in the takeoff path of a main runway at Logan International Airport, and that diverting planes would make the airport less efficient, leading developer Millennium Partners decided to nix about 75 feet.

The most recent height change was brought about due to the review of an environmental impact report, which would also likely satisfy FAA requirements as well as critics. Those who are pushing for the tower to be shorter have argued that the taller version would cast a shadow over Boston Common, as well as the Public Garden.

Throwing Shade

In April, the Boston Planning and Development Agency introduced legislation that exempted the tower from the state’s shadow laws, which limit the shadows cast onto those public green spaces.

The laws, which were enacted in the early 1990s, dictate that buildings in Winthrop Square could only cast shadows over the Boston Common and Public Garden during the first hour after sunrise or before 7 a.m. (whichever is later) or the last hour before sunset.

Under the previous 775-foot plan, Winthrop Tower, from Handel Architects, would cast shadows exceeding what’s currently allowable by law, for 282 days a year.

Currently, Millennium Partners is planning to start construction the Winthrop Tower by summer, but some details, regarding affordable housing and environmental impact, have yet to be addressed.


Tagged categories: Building Envelope; Condominiums/High-Rise Residential; Laws and litigation; North America; Project Management

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