The New York company that owns the former Payless building at Bromfield and Washington streets in Downtown Crossing now says, in a filing with the BPDA last week, it expects to begin 28 months of construction on a new 22-story office tower there in the second half of 2022.
Midwood Investment and Development first bought part of the site in 1979. It proposed a 22-story replacement in 2008, then the economy collapsed and that was that until 2016, when it proposed a 59-story skyscraper with both apartments and condos, with a gaping maw of a garage entrance where stores used to be on the Bromfield side of the building. That didn't go over well, the company withdrew those plans and then came back in 2020 with its current plan, which would include three levels of retail space - one below ground - topped by regular, everyday office space, with no life-sciences space at all.
As part of the project, Midwood would pay $4.25 million in housing linkage funds, which will be used to ensure that all of the 126 units in a 19-story apartment building will be rented as affordable - with more than half the units rented to people making no more than 30% of the Boston area median income. That project is proposed by St. Francis House and the Planning Office of Urban Affairs.
Unlike the 59-story proposal, the current Midwood proposal calls for no parking on the site - which Midwood notes is in "a transit-rich, pedestrian-friendly location," with existing garages a short walk away.
Also unlike the previous proposal, the current one is aimed at preserving Bromfield Street's current layout of small, independently owned shops:
The ground floor retail storefronts have been designed to accommodate smaller retailers, this is particularly notable along Bromfield Street where this smaller storefront is characteristic of the historic streetscape environment. The Proponent will discuss the possibility of the existing retailers occupying space in the new building. The Proponent owns similar retail assets on Bromfield and Milk Streets and will explore the feasibility of providing interim space so that these legacy retailers will not need to relocate out of the neighborhood during the term of construction.
11-21 Bromfield St. filings and calendar.