ML - Boston Common

2013 - Issue 4 - Fall

Boston Common - Niche Media - A side of Boston that's anything but common.

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Page 134 of 155

Haute Property NEWS, STARS, AND TRENDS IN REAL ESTATE Catalyst for Change AFTER A DECADE OF STRUGGLE, DOWNTOWN CROSSING IS ON THE VERGE OF A REBOOT. BY MICHAEL BLANDING F PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY OF MILLENIUM PARTNERS or five years, it's been known simply as "the hole"—a yawning pit at the corner of Washington and Franklin Streets that has marked the failed development of the Filene's block and sucked the life out of the Downtown Crossing neighborhood. Then, slowly, something new happened. Shovels started kicking at that dirt, the groundbreaking of a new glass tower that—if all goes well—will finally put Boston's most central and most benighted neighborhood back on the map. Downtown Crossing has always looked good on paper—it's located at the intersection of the Red and Orange lines and snuggled up against both the Financial District and the Common. But its twisted history has put the lie in the old adage of "location, location, location." Since Filene's department store opened in 1912, the neighborhood was the go-to destination for both fashion- and bargain-savvy Bostonians. In recent years, however, the neighborhood has lost its footing. Filene's closed, victim to competition not only from Macy's next door, but from malls and clothing stores throughout the suburbs. Then, one by one, the other retailers that anchored the neighborhood also disappeared—Borders, Barnes & Noble, Strawberry, and FYE all lost the battle against Internet shopping. Even venerable restaurant LockeOber shuttered its doors last year after 137 years in business. Each of these closures left gaping holes in the fabric of the neighborhood. But none was so gaping as the literal hole left by developer Vornado Realty Trust, which was charged with redeveloping the Filene's site but cried poverty after the Great Recession of 2008, earning the undying enmity of the continued on page 134 Millennium Place, across from the Ritz.. BOSTONCOMMON-MAGAZINE.COM 133-134_BC_HP_Opner_Sep13.indd 133 133 8/5/13 9:59 AM

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