There’s an article in the 9/12/10 New York Times about how the recession has impacted one of Boston’s major landmarks: Filene’s Basement, “where generations of Bostonians tussled over cut-rate designer clothes in a dingy but fiercely loved downtown store.”
The Times says, “In its place, a $700 million tower was to rise with offices, condominiums, a hotel and a new Filene’s for the bargain hungry. But the recession halted the project, possibly for good, leaving Boston with a deserted construction pit in one of its busiest neighborhoods.”
So what does a city do when a famous landmark is wiped from the city streets, and the tower that was to rise in its place is sidelined due to money problems?
Well the developers wanted to scale back the project, and put up a more modest building in its place. The mayor of Boston nixed that idea. Apparently he isn’t aware that the recession has major projects all across the country being downsized or cancelled completely. Projects are just plain lucky these days to get any funding at all. Those that are taking place are going about with smaller budgets, and are lucky to get what they get in financing.
So I guess the mayor would rather have a big hole in the ground than a smaller version of the $700 million tower?
Boston is not the only city feeling the pinch:
“In Providence, R.I., a crumbling brick facade is all that remains of the landmark Providence National Bank building, which was razed in 2005 to make way for a now-canceled residential tower.
Seattle lost a beloved example of midcentury modern architecture, a curvy-roofed building that most recently housed a Denny’s restaurant, to the wrecking ball in 2008; it is still waiting for the condominiums and shops that were to open.
Other cities, including San Diego and San Francisco, have so many empty lots that officials have discussed filling them with temporary tree farms, parks or public art.”
So what do you do with a razed construction project and no money? Do you leave it an open pit? Fill it with grass and make a park? Wait for the market to rebound and then build as planned?
Generations of Bostonians will never know the beauty of the century old building that has been razed. The classic architecture, an icon of Boston, is forever gone. It’s just too bad it was flattened for nothing.