Can Boston Change its 'Wink and Nod' Development Process?
Paul McMorrow reports on developer Steve Belkin's renewed effort to build a 1,000-foot office tower on the current site of a city-owned parking garage. A failed attempt to redevelop the site seven years ago has left the site in limbo. Thus:
This lack of standing sets up a potentially embarrassing conflict between Belkin and Boston’s new mayor, Marty Walsh. But it’s also an opportunity for Walsh to put his stamp on downtown development, both by establishing his own vision for what should replace the Winthrop Square garage, and by signaling that development in Boston doesn’t work on a wink and a nod anymore.
The article provides the backstory, which involves Belkin's winning the original redevelopment project by default (he owns the property next door) and a falling-out with none other than starchitect Renzo Piano. This time around, the project is seen as problematic for Mayor Walsh because, according to McMorrow, "Walsh actively campaigned against the kind of fast-and-loose development politics that would call a mulligan and hand Winthrop Square to Belkin today."