BOSTON (CBS) — The city of Boston is trying to get more people to Downtown Crossing, but many of the area’s woes are blamed on the stalled Filene’s Basement project.

Sue in Maynard Declared her Curiosity saying, “I’m curious about the big hole at downtown crossing. What’s the hold-up? What’s the future for that spot?”

It’s been three years since Filene’s Basement went away and yet there’s still a gaping hole in its spot.

Some people call it a shame, others a disgrace.

A developer named Vornado has the rights to the hold and they’re holding back, said Boston Mayor Tom Menino. He says they purchased the spot, did some demolition and then ran short on money. He has now pulled their permits and the company is trying to sell the land.

Menino says Vornado is asking too much for the land. He says it’s worth less than $100 million, which is about half of what Vornado is reportedly asking.

WBZ-TV’s David Wade reports.

There are some bright spots for Downtown Crossing including three new theatres, 29 new businesses, and a parking lot that is expected, this summer, to be transformed into 265 apartments and condos and 12,000 square feet of retail space.

Business owners volunteered to pay extra property tax for neighborhood improvements.

“Despite the hole in the ground, we want to move forward because this are has so much potential,” said Rosemarie Sansone of the Business Improvement District.

Next month uniformed improvement ambassadors will be out giving directions and keeping the sidewalks clean.

WBZ called Vornado to see how things were going with a possible sale, but they did not want to comment.

Comments (8)
  1. Cynic says:

    Bill Veeck learned years ago when he bought Suffolk Downs… Outside developers come into Boston expecting sanity and then they are sandbagged by the Bysantine Politics of Mass in general and Boston in particular…Having the ultimate control freak in City Hall (King Thomas 1st.) doesn’t help iether.

  2. Cynic says:

    In how many other Cities does the Mayor name the City Hospital after Himself ?

  3. ENUF says:

    Place historical signicance on the hole. Place a bronze plaque in front of the hole “This is the hole that the City of Boston is in”.

  4. mintonfg says:

    In the New York Times yesterday there were two articles about projects that Vornado is developing in New York City. On is a contract they have just signed to develop 15 Penn Plaza (including to develop and maintain the underground transit system there). The other project is at 510 Fifth Avenue at 43rd Street. Both are huge projects. It beggers the imagination that the City of Boston and the folks developing Downtown Crossing can’t move things along with the former Filene’s space that Vornado owns and that is now a hole in the ground. It must be driving down values all over that area.

  5. cynic says:

    Boston Politics.

  6. DStein says:

    Massachusetts as a whole is anti-business, anti-development. The City of Boston makes it even worse with their long list of demands… eveything has to be done with union labor. Just unnecessarily driving up the cost of doing busness here.

  7. Alan says:

    I’ve had a business in Downtown Crossing for 32 years. Many changes have occurred over this time-period, to me mostly bad. Removal of meters to outrageous parking fees have drawn shoppers to the Burbs. Filene’s Basement was the largest attraction to Boston. I blame the Mayor and the BRA for this mess. Vornado could care less about the pit. They are just like every commercial property owner. $$$ is all they care about. To allow them to dismantle the building without guaranteed funding is a disgrace. They have altered this area of Boston permanently. This is why I will not participate in the BID. To me it is a waste of what little $ I am able to make due this this climate. It is a real shame that the Mayor doesn’t really care. Look how many store fronts are empty because of another $ hungry commercial property owner. When are they going to wake up before all the businesses close.

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