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Twin-Tower Project Proposed For Harbor Garage

Don Chiofaro notified City Hall today that his company would like to build two towers, with a combined 1.5 million square feet of mixed-use space, on the site of the Harbor Garage in downtown Boston.

The Chiofaro Co. proposes to replace the seven-story, 1,380-car garage with 860,000 square feet of office space, 220,000 square feet of residential space, 70,000 square feet of retail space and a 350,000-square-foot hotel. The project would be spread over a combined hotel/residential tower and an office tower, and include restaurants, retail, and a market on the ground floors, with parking and service docks below grade, according to a letter of intent filed with the Boston Redevelopment Authority.

Chiofaro estimated the cost of the project at $900 million.

The letter does not specify how tall the two planned towers would be, but it allows that the project will need variances for height and floor area ratio. Previous descriptions of the project put its height between 40-85 stories, making it higher than the neighboring Harbor Towers. Harbor Towers was originally envisioned as a three-tower complex, though only two were built.

The letter predicts the generation of $30 million in new tax revenue, promising to bring “new vibrancy and much needed retail” to the waterfront. Chiofaro said the project may also create up to 4,000 construction jobs and will include an outdoor courtyard and indoor public space.

Parking for residents of Harbor Towers will be “provided at all times,” Chiofaro said. He also said the company has a “moral obligation” to provide public parking for the nearby New England Aquarium.

Administration officials had no immediate comment. In September, BRA Director John Palmieri called the 1.3 acre parcel “not a place to accommodate great height,” telling Banker & Tradesman, “At this stage, Don is interested in doing a fairly substantial development at the garage. Our concern has to do with height, massing and density because of its location.”

The Chiofaro Co. purchased the garage at 70 East India Row, across from the Rose Kennedy Greenway, last year for more than $150 million.

Last fall, Chiofaro also bid on a Massachusetts Turnpike air rights parcel, proposing to build a 30-story tower over the roadway in Boston’s Back Bay.

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