In a recent BBJ article by Thomas Grillo, there seems to be some interest from the BRA to renew its search for a developer of the city-owned Winthrop Street Garage site on Devonshire Street between Winthrop Square and Federal Street. The previous proposal was to build a 1,000-foot tower with 1.3 million square feet of office space on the approximately one acre parcel.
It’s always exciting for a city to talk about the prospects of having the tallest tower in the city built. However, historically, this city sometimes lacks the patience to allow the marketplace to support the new venture. It is difficult enough to build an office building a quarter of the size of this dream project without substantial pre-leasing at rents that justify the expense of constructing a tower. A delay in development does not equate with a lack of expertise or, even, capital. It just means that there are economic cycles that affect these decisions. To ignore market demand would be at the owner’s financial peril.
If we want to attract serious interest from developers in this site, the BRA and the new Mayor will have to understand that giving a permit to build a project of this magnitude will require the patience of Job!