Today's the day that Tom "Shovels" Menino officially turns over the reins of Boston to Marty Walsh after 20 years as mayor. Menino has garnered a lot of plaudits since announcing his retirement in early 2013, not least of which surround his efforts at building up a Boston that looked to have seen its better real estate days when he took office in 1993. Herewith, then, 10 city-changing projects and initiatives that Hizzoner played a major role in shepherding to life.
East Boston Waterfront
In late 2011, Mayor Menino announced an ambitious plan to jumpstart nearly $600 million in development along the East Boston waterfront, development that could create up to 1,800 housing units and that would be partly dependent on beefed-up water transit. Part of it, the 176-unit Portside at East Pier (rendered), got under way in early 2013.
It's almost impossible to overstate the effect this Menino-made district has had on the city's economic-development psyche. It doesn't really exist as a definable neighborhood, but the Innovation District has come to represent all that is forward-looking in Boston's commercial growth. It's tech and biotech and micro-apartments and Seaport Square, oh my!
The Downtown Bid
Menino championed the idea of a Downtown Boston Business Improvement District as far back as the mid-1990s, seeing the plan die in the state Legislature time and again. The BID, covering 34 blocks and 35 million square feet of office space, finally launched in 2011.
The obsequies for the mayor have largely centered around his dedication to building up Boston's neighborhood feel. The rehab of the Ferdinand Building in Dudley Square into a modern office complex for the city schools' HQ is a prime example of this. The Ferdinand redo is expected to jumpstart other development in surrounding Roxbury.
Government Center Garage Towers
Along the same neighborhood-connecting lines comes this: The six-building redevelopment of the Government Center Garage into a behemoth of residences, offices and retail sure to reconnect the West End and downtown. We're talking 812 residences; 1.1 million square feet of office space; 196 hotel rooms; and new restaurants and shops, many along the Greenway. The developer hopes to break ground on the first residential tower, a 480-footer, this year. (Earlier rendering courtesy of developer HYM.)
South Boston Waterfront
Home of the Menino-annointed Innovation District as well as the behemoth Seaport District, sure to be one of the biggest mixed-use developments in the entire country when it's done, the Southie waterfront has seen change unimaginable two decades ago. With the exception of the South End, it has to be Boston's starkest example of gentrification under Menino's watch.
The Boston Garden
Developer Boston Properties and TD Garden operator Delaware North unveiled plans in the fall for a trio of spires around—and connected to—the arena, including a 600-foot, 45-story residential building with 497 units. It has the tax-breaking imprimatur of the outgoing Menino administration, but continues to face local opposition.
The 625-foot, 56-story tower in Downtown Crossing officially broke ground in September, and construction should continue through 2014, with a 2015 opening planned. It's slated to have 450 condos as well as 231,000 square feet of retail. Menino famously sparred with the site's previous would-be developer, Vornado Realty Trust of New York, which seemed to be holding out for blight-related subsidies the mayor had no intention of awarding.
The mammoth development, which includes a 250,000-square-foot HQ for New Balance as well as a 345,000-square-foot sports complex with an NHL-regulation arena and a new commuter-rail stop, anchors other prime development in Brighton, including the 92-unit redevelopment of the old Circle Cinema, one of so, so many rental developments under Menino's watch.
Christian Science Plaza Towers
In early September, the city signed off on a mega-project at the Christian Science Plaza that includes a 691-foot, 58-story tower with 255 apartments, 170 condos and about 250 hotel rooms. When completed, it will be Boston's tallest residential building, as big an exclamation point as any Menino could've slapped on his tenure. Another tower, this one a mere 25 stories, is also part of the 950,000-square-foot scheme.
Courtesy of Curbed Boston