Can Boston Change its 'Wink and Nod' Development Process?

A reborn plan to raze the Winthrop Square parking garage and replace it with the tallest building in Boston will provide a test for new Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh.

1 minute read

September 30, 2014, 1:00 PM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

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."

Tuesday, September 30, 2014 in The Boston Globe

Few passengers waiting in subway station with multiple platforms and "North Station" signs in Boston, Massachusetts

Boston Transit Riders Report Safety Concerns

Almost three-quarters of current and former riders report feeling unsafe while using MBTA services.

September 18, 2023 - Hoodline

View of Interstate 205 bridge over Columbia River with Mt. Hood in background.

The Unceremonious Death of a Freeway Expansion Project

The end of an Oregon freeway project didn't get much fanfare, but the victory is worth celebrating.

September 19, 2023 - Streetsblog USA

Wood frame house under construction

Houston Lot Size Reforms Yield Positive Results

New research shows that reducing lot size requirements helped create thousands of new homes.

September 17, 2023 - Pew Trusts

Houston BCycle bike share station full of bikes at University of Houston

From Zero to Two: Houston’s Bike Share Saga Continues

The city is now proposing supporting BCycle as well as launching a new, complementary system.

51 minutes ago - Axios

View of Austin, Texas skyline at dusk with Colorado River and bridge in foreground

‘Affordability Unlocked’ Boosts Austin’s Affordable Housing Production

A 2019 program has created new housing at a faster rate than other city programs.

1 hour ago - KUT

Aerial view of small New Hampshire town with brick buildings and fall foliage.

How Homelessness Differs in Rural America

Although less visible than in major cities, the housing crisis is no less severe in many rural communities, where being unhoused poses unique challenges.

2 hours ago - The Daily Yonder