Construction has commenced at the site of the Millennium Tower/Burnham Building in Boston. Located in the City’s Downtown Crossing at the site of the former Filene’s Department Store, the $630 million project consists of the landmark 1912 Burnham Building and a dramatic, new, mixed-use tower that will rise 625 feet into the Boston skyline. Showcasing a harmonious balance of old and new, the proposed 1.4 million square foot development is expected to reinvigorate Downtown Boston with its innovative office space, dynamic street-level retail and a new level of luxury residential condominium offerings.

Millenium Groundbreaking

L-R: Christopher Jeffries Founding Partner Millennium Partners, Mayor Thomas Menino, Pam Hamlin, President, Arnold Worldwide, Edward Roche, Owner & COO Roche Bros. (Photo credit: Russ Campbell)

“The Filene’s site is synonymous with Downtown Boston. The start of construction celebrates the beginning of a new chapter in the history of this historic building and highlights the promising future that is in store for this neighborhood,” said Boston Mayor Thomas Menino. “Today also marks the start of another important project by Millennium Partners, which will place a marker in the Boston skyline, like a flag drawing people to Downtown Crossing.”

Christopher M. Jeffries, founding partner at Millennium Partners, described the firm’s experience in Boston by saying, “Millennium Partners is very pleased to revive and restore a building that is so close to Bostonians’ hearts. Thanks to the forward-looking perspective of the Mayor and his staff, it took only 10 months to bring our initial design ideas to life with the start of construction in April of this year. We strongly believe that this new project will support the further economic resurgence of one of the country’s most vibrant urban centers, and will extend residential and retail growth in a continuous stretch from the Theatre District to City Hall.”

The Burnham Building renovation is only part of Millennium Partners’ redevelopment of the vacant site formerly occupied by Filene’s Department Store. The proposal will execute a significant component of the City of Boston’s plan for Downtown Crossing, a location with the highest pedestrian traffic and transit accessibility in New England. Ideally situated in the city’s epicenter, the Millennium Tower/Burnham Building project is within easy walking distance of all five MBTA “T” lines and the South Station commuter rail terminal. Pedestrian count exceeds 51,000 persons per day, surpassing that of New York City’s well-known Fifth Avenue and SoHo shopping destinations.

Construction of Millennium Tower, now also proceeding, adds a striking 625-foot tower adjacent to the Burnham Building that will consist of 450 luxury residences and 95,000 square feet of additional retail space on its lower floors.

Millennium Tower

Rendering of Millennium Tower Boston and Historic Burnham Building

Simultaneous with the onset of construction, Millennium Partners signed its first office lease in April, making the Burnham Building the new Boston headquarters of Arnold Worldwide, a subsidiary of Havas Advertising, the world’s sixth-largest communications group. Arnold’s occupancy at the Burnham Building is slated for September 2014.

In addition, Millennium Partners announced today that it has reached agreement with Roche Brothers Supermarkets to bring its exceptionally high quality retail grocery store chain to downtown Boston. This new store is the first large-scale grocery store to be built in Downtown Crossing, and will serve the growing residential neighborhood first initiated by Millennium Partners.

“Roche Brothers is a Boston business with deep roots in our City. It is fitting that the Roche family would be the ones to bring fresh food and the first large grocery store into Downtown Boston,” said Mayor Menino. “I am proud to have Roche Brothers as a participant in the rebirth of this iconic site.” Anthony Pangaro, principal at Millennium Partners/Boston added, “No neighborhood can be called complete without a food purveyor of the highest quality and good value. Now, with Roche Brothers, we can truly say that what we have here is a total, urban, neighborhood place to live.”

The Burnham Building/Millennium Tower mixed-use project will encompass a harmonious pairing of old and new, and leverage its tenant mix to ensure a vibrant 24/7 city center. Plans include more than 135,000 square feet of entirely restored active and varied retail space on the lower floors, and nearly 200,000 square feet of innovative office space on the upper floors.

The Burnham Building restoration will have the novel features envisioned by legendary Chicago architect Daniel Burnham (1846-1912) when he was the most prominent retail merchandising architect in the nation. These include a noble street façade with large plate glass display windows featuring mirrored vitrines designed to provide unprecedented visual access to the retail wares sold at Filene’s. The only structure in Boston that Daniel Burnham designed, the Burnham Building will be reawakened and restored to its original grandeur by Handel Architects. The restoration has been certified by the United States Department of the Interior as meeting the high standards for rehabilitation for a structure on the National Register of Historic Places. It is also is being designed to achieve LEED Certification and will include new systems for office and retail spaces, all constructed within the historic shell and its inner steel structure.

The Millennium Tower/Burnham Building development is seen as essential for the economic regeneration of this part of Downtown Boston. It will reverse years of decline caused by the abandonment of the former Filene’s store and consequent retail and upper story vacancy in the central core of New England’s principal city.

Millennium Tower Boston follows the company’s successful Ritz-Carlton Hotel and Residential Towers and Millennium Place, its current residential offering. Millennium Place, a 15-story, $220 million luxury residential building located at the apex of Avery Street in downtown Boston, is already more than 80 percent sold and will be available for initial occupancy this October.