A New York City developer has unveiled plans for a 59-story, 607,000-square-foot skyscraper in Boston’s Downtown Crossing that would contain 473 condominiums and apartments.
Midwood Investment & Development has been briefing neighborhood and business organizations on the project as it prepares to submit a formal filing with the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) within two weeks.
Architectural renderings show a broad first-floor retail podium narrowing to a slender residential tower, according to Sam Tyler, president of the Boston Municipal Research Bureau, who attended one of the presentations. The tower would include 300 market-rate apartments, 119 condos and 54 affordable units on-site, Tyler said. The project would also include 234 parking spaces.
Midwood, a privately held development company active in New York and Philadelphia, acquired a group of parcels bordering Washington and Bromfield streets in the previous decade and drew up preliminary plans for a 28-story luxury apartment tower that surfaced in 2008. They were put on hold after the housing market collapsed.
The properties contain ground-floor and basement retail space, including a Payless shoe store and a now-vacant former City Sports store, beneath low-rise office space.
In recent years, luxury condo towers in the neighborhood have quickly absorbed multimillion-dollar sales at 45 Province St., Millennium Place and the 60-story Millennium Tower. More than 90 percent of the Millennium Tower’s 442 units were under agreement nearly a year before its projected opening.
The hot market has encouraged other developers to submit plans for condo towers at the former Felt nightclub property at 533 Washington St. and 171 Tremont St. overlooking Boston Common.
In a presentation to the Downtown Boston Business Improvement District, Midwood executives said that they plan to be a long-term owner of the project, like all of their ventures, Tyler said.
But traffic patterns immediately surfaced as a concern in the neighborhood, with the 442-unit Millennium scheduled to open this summer, said George Coorssen, a founder of the Midtown Cultural District Residents Assoc.
“They want to know the players and get a sense of the lay of the land,” Coorssen said. “I was impressed with the group. They seem like they know what they’re doing, and it sounds like a good project.”
Through a spokeswoman, Midwood declined to comment.
The tower would become one of Boston’s five tallest buildings, along with 200 Clarendon, the Prudential Tower, the Millennium Tower and the 61-story Four Seasons Hotel and Private Residences under construction in Back Bay.
A state law passed in the early 1990s prohibits new developments in Boston from increasing shadows on the Common and Public Garden. Elizabeth Vizza, executive director of the Friends of the Public Garden, said Midwood has not contacted the association.
“Given that our understanding is that their building will cast a shadow on the Common, we would expect them to have reached out to us by now, and we look forward to learning more about their plans and the development’s impact on the park,” Vizza said via email.
The provision for affordable units on-site would be a departure from most of the luxury housing recently built in the downtown area. The city requires that 13 percent of the units in multifamily developments be set aside as income-restricted housing. But developers can pay a “cash-out” fee to the city to support generation of affordable housing in the surrounding neighborhood.
Mayor Martin Walsh signed an executive order in December increasing those fees in the city’s most expensive neighborhoods, including Downtown Crossing, to $380,000 per unit. Walsh said the changes reflected the increased cost of housing since the city’s inclusionary development policy was enacted in 2000, along with widening gaps between housing prices in different neighborhoods.
The project is subject to the BRA’s Article 80 review for large projects. A source familiar with Midwood’s plans said a formal filing is expected by the end of March.