Community Real Estate

BBJ: “Contentious” Meeting Held on Boston Garden Project Regarding Tower Height and Tax Breaks

The Boston Garden Project came under scrutiny by a community panel this week with regards to the 600 foot height of a residential tower and proposed tax breaks for the developer, Boston Properties. (Image from BRA documents.)

The “rabble rousers” apparently showed up at Wednesday night’s meeting on the Boston Garden Project hosted by the Boston Redevelopment Authority and developer Boston Properties. A selected panel of interested parties, known as the Impact Advisory Group, focused on the 600 feet proposed height of a residential tower versus the 400 feet that was previously planned at the site in front of the existing TD Garden.

Entering the fray on Thursday was Mayor Thomas Menino who encouraged the developer to compromise with the neighborhoods, according to the Boston Business Journal’s Thomas Grillo:

“There has to be a compromise someplace in this development,” Menino said. “I have faith in Boston Properties to work with the community. They have been excellent in other developments in the city and they will work on this one. I believe there will be a compromise.”

The Boston Garden Project consists of 235,000 square feet of retail space, 142,000 square feet of office space, a hotel tower (350-foot high) below grade parking and a 40,000 square foot expansion of the TD Garden next to North Station. The project would also include a 600-foot tall residential tower with about 500 units and an office tower (420-foot high).

In addition, the issue of “blighted area” tax breaks through a 121A agreement met harsh criticism by IAG member James Zahka:

“You are looking to us, people in this room who pay taxes, to enhance the profitability of your project and to enhance the bank accounts of Jeremy Jacobs of Delaware North, who has a net worth of $2.8 billion, and Mort Zuckerman of Boston Properties, who has a net worth of $2.3 billion,” he said. “I haven’t heard any reasonable explanation as to why taxpayers need to provide this. We ask you to build it on your own dime, not ours.”

Other important subjects discussed, but not resolved, at the meeting include a potential supermarket and affordable housing.

Read the full article at the Boston Business Journal website.

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