New Boston Skyscraper Could Violate a State Law

750-foot building would cast shadows over Boston Common and the Public Garden

A skyscraper slated to go up in downtown Boston could violate a state law.

Massachusetts lawmakers say the 750-foot building planned to replace the Winthrop Square Garage, would cast shadows over Boston Common and the Public Garden.

Since 1990, there’s been a law on the books aimed at protecting the Common from new developments going up around it and the development is now challenges that.

“The concern is what kind of can of worms are you potentially opening up,” asked Rep. Aaron Michlewitz. “I think a lot of people believe that the law has worked.”

In order for developer Millennium Partners to build the condo and office structure, the state law would have to be changed.

As it stands, buildings around the Common can’t block sunlight from hitting the park during certain hours of the day and it varies depending on where you’re located. Last week, Millennium Partners informed Boston city and Massachusetts state leaders their plan would violate the law — casting a large shadow during prohibited times in the morning.

“It would cross over the Common, cross over the Public Garden and go all the way to the Commonwealth Mall,” Michlewitz said.

Repeated requests for comment from Millennium on Tuesday were not answered. The company has offered to pay Boston more than $150 million for the space under their current design so now lawmakers say they’ll have to decide if that’s worth what it could cost the city in a space they’ve long tried to preserve.

“This is virtually our backyard so any types of changes to it obviously become troublesome or worrisome and something that you have to give a careful eye to,” Michlewitz said.

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