Developer Pitches Another Millennium-Sized Tower In Boston


A New York developer is drawing up designs for a luxury condo and apartment skyscraper that would rival the 60-story Millennium Tower in Boston’s Downtown Crossing.

“It’ll be extremely sleek and contemporary with lots of glass,” said Sue Hawkes, CEO of the Boston-based brokerage Collaborative Cos. “And very tall – everything that you would expect in this market.”

The development team is led by Midwood Investment and Development of New York. The site is located on the north side of Bromfield Street and west side of Washington Street, diagonally opposite the Millennium site.

The exact height and number of units has not been determined, but the developers will seek to build a project on the scale of the 685-foot-tall Millennium Tower with similar high-end amenities, Hawkes said. There is one major difference: the Midwood tower would contain a mix of apartments on the lower levels and condos on the upper floors, along with retail space.

Preliminary designs were presented to Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) staff earlier this year and are being updated. Midwood is gearing up to go public with its plan, including presentations to neighborhood groups, prior to a formal filing with the BRA. The goal would be to complete construction by 2019 or 2020, Hawkes said.

“These people are serious. They brought out the big guns,” said a top city official who has been briefed on preliminary designs.

Midwood owns six low-rise properties on Province Court, Bromfield and Washington streets, according to Suffolk County Registry of Deeds records. The buildings contain office space on upper floors and ground-level storefronts occupied by Payless Shoe Source and various independent shops. The development site does not include the Sam LaGrassa’s sandwich shop property.

Midwood drew up plans in 2008 for a 28-story, $200 million mixed-use project on the same site including 260 apartments and six floors of retail space. It never filed a formal application in the wake of the downturn.

“They bought at a challenging time in the market and decided to wait until it was an opportunistic time to proceed,” Hawkes said.

Midwood kept a low profile until September, when it added to its Downtown Crossing holdings with the $18.2 million purchase of 1 Milk St. The six-story, 36,531-square-foot office and retail building is directly across Washington Street from the rest of the portfolio.

The scope of the plans reflects the heady market for luxury condos in Boston, led by the $630 million Millennium built at the former Filene’s department store site.

When the 442-unit Millennium project was in the preliminary stages, developers originally only planned half as many units as the final version, Millennium Partners’ Richard Baumert said at a recent topping-off ceremony. The aggressive scope of the project has been rewarded as the largest ultra-luxury complex to be built since the recession, with over 90 percent of the units under agreement and total sales topping $800 million.

Developer Richard Friedman of Carpenter & Co. is building The Four Seasons Hotel & Private Residences in Back Bay, a 61-story tower with 211 hotel rooms, 180 luxury condos, retail shops and restaurants due for completion in 2017.

Midwood mapBoston-based Fallon Co. is nearing completion of Twenty Two Liberty, the 109-unit, 14-story condo tower on South Boston’s Fan Pier, and broke ground this month on the adjacent Fifty Liberty, a 14-story, 252,000-square-foot condo project.

Parcels M1 and M2 in Seaport Square are approved for 750 condos and luxury apartments. Pasadena, California-based Cottonwood Management LLC bought the parcels Thursday for $120 million and is expected to break ground early next year.

Swiss investor Maurice Dabbah is partnering with Center Court Boston LLC on a proposal to tear down a five-story commercial building at 171 Tremont St. and build a 31-unit, 355-foot-tall luxury boutique condo tower overlooking Boston Common.

And in Downtown Crossing, Collin Yip of Raffi Properties LLC has proposed a 30-story tower containing 94 condos along with office and retail space at the former Felt nightclub property at 533 Washington St.

The Midwood project would be subject to a large project review by the BRA, and its height would be subject to an FAA review because of the proximity of Logan International Airport flight paths.

Midwood executives were not available for comment. The privately-held company was founded in 1925 by Samuel Lemberg, an early benefactor of Brandeis University. Since 1981, it’s been run by John Usdan, Lemberg’s grandson. The company owned 120 properties in 12 states, according to a 2013 report in Real Estate Weekly.

The company is currently proposing a mixed-use development in Philadelphia including apartments, retail and housing.

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Developer Pitches Another Millennium-Sized Tower In Boston

by Steve Adams time to read: 3 min