Developer cuts height of Boston tower amid FAA concern
Developer Millennium Partners will cut the proposed height of a Boston mixed-use tower from 775 feet to 702 feet amid Federal Aviation Administration concerns about it interfering with air traffic at the nearby Logan International Airport, Curbed Boston reported.
Millennium said it would reduce office space in its Winthrop Square project to meet the new height and leave the number of residential units as planned. The FAA is expected to conduct a lengthy review and comment period before making a decision.
Even if the FAA approves the new height, the project could be in jeopardy amid claims that it will cast a shadow over Boston Common and the Public Garden. In April, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh proposed legislation, which has since been approved, that would allow Millennium to build on a former public garage site — for which the developer is paying the city $153 million — while preventing other projects from building that tall.
Despite Walsh's push to make the Millennium project happen, the FAA will likely have the final say just as it has with other developments.
Last week, the agency decided that the 225-foot height of the Raiders' new Las Vegas NFL stadium wouldn't interfere with air traffic after reducing its comment period on the decision from five weeks to two.
The FAA took more than a year to decide that the Los Angeles Rams' new $2.6 billion venue in Inglewood, CA, was tall enough to pose a risk to nearby airport operations. In that case, they ruled that the team must pay $29 million for a supplemental radar system to ensure there is no interference.
Millennium's plan for Winthrop Square is one more piece of the building boom underway in Boston. The city had 14 million square feet of space under development and 40 million square feet of permitted projects getting ready to begin, The Wall Street Journal reported in May. The breakdown of that new space is roughly 20% offices and 80% multifamily residential.
One of the characteristics of a booming city is the influx of new residents, which leads to congestion on the roads and public transportation. To help ease that burden, Millennium has proposed a gondola system between Boston's South Station and the city's Seaport District. The company would contribute $100 million to the project but must negotiate approvals with state and local officials.
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