Massport objects to height of Winthrop Square skyscraper


The Boston Globe | By Tim Logan
January 12, 2017

Even as they deal with nearby residents worried about shadows on the ground, the developers of a skyscraper at Winthrop Square now face challenges up in the air, too.

The Massachusetts Port Authority, which operates Logan International Airport, said it “strongly objects” to the 775-foot height Millennium Partners has proposed at Winthrop Square, according to a letter to state environmental regulators released Wednesday.

A tower that tall, a Massport official wrote, would interfere with operations at Logan, blocking a popular takeoff corridor and likely leading to more noisy air traffic over northern and western suburbs of the city. Massport would object to anything taller than 710 feet on the site, which sits about two miles west of the airport.

Aviation height limits have long put a lid on super-tall development in downtown Boston, and similar concerns helped scuttle plans a decade ago to put a 1,000-foot tower on the Winthrop Square site, which now houses a shuttered city garage.

In its successful bid last year to develop the site — which it would buy from the city for $153 million — Millennium Partners pitched a 750-foot tower, despite advice from the Boston Planning & Development Agency that nothing taller than 725 would likely pass muster with the airport. Then they filed a proposal that they said could reach “up to 775 feet.” Millennium’s top executive on the project did not return messages late Wednesday, but they have suggested in the past that they’re willing to be flexible on height.

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