Developer Don Chiofaro scales back Boston tower plan

The Boston Globe | By Tim Logan
September 19, 2016

Hoping to jump-start a long-delayed project, developer Don Chiofaro is ready to dial back his ambition and build a tower nearly one-third smaller than the one he first proposed for a site next to the New England Aquarium.

Chiofaro told the Globe that he’ll push forward with his bid to put a skyscraper on the site of the Harbor Garage, and to do it within proposed zoning rules that he fought for years to loosen without success. It would still be a billion-dollar-plus project, a bookend to the International Place towers he built in the 1980s, but not quite as grand as he envisioned.

“We’re going to try as hard as we can to take what we’re dealt and do something great,” he said in an interview on Friday.

Chiofaro had been quiet since city officials said in January that they would not permit a building with more than 900,000 square feet or taller than 600 feet. Now they’re putting the final touches on zoning rules for the downtown waterfront, with a goal to have a plan approved in November.

A building with 900,000 square feet would still be among the largest constructed in Boston’s current boom, but it would be smaller than the two-tower, 1.3 million-square-foot complex Chiofaro had been floating, or the 1.1 million-square-foot version he had offered late last year.

A smaller tower would mean fewer condos and hotel rooms and less office space to generate income for the developer and investors. Chiofaro said he needs to maximize income to justify closing the lucrative 1,400-space parking garage, replacing it underground, and opening up a section of waterfront that has long been walled off at the street.

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