By Karen Taylor:
I was thinking if I had $70 million or so sitting around ready to invest, this is where I would put it. The area around Downtown Crossing right now has a better chance of making a turn-around than any other location in Boston.
Let me count the ways.
Downtown Crossing where Summer and Winter streets join at Washington, is being squeezed with positive activity on all sides. The brand new Ames Hotel and a renovated Province Street, courtesy of the Abbey Group and its new residential tower at 45 Province Street, are two major improvements on its City Hall side. In the other direction Babak Bina and his family last year set up Bina, an upscale grocery store and restaurant…
…The renovated Opera House re-opened, and will be joined in March of this year by the Paramount Theater, renovated by Emerson College into several performance and rehearsal spaces. This fall, Suffolk University will complete its renovation of the Modern Theatre into 12-stroy housing for 197 students with performance spaces on the first two floors…
…The BRA has imposed a new sign code, and a few new storefronts already look better.
The most promising activity has sprung from Downtown Crossing’s core supporters. This combination of property owners and business owners has proposed by the end of 2010 the area become Business Improvement District (BID). This BID would have the authority to assess an additional 16 to 25 cents per sq ft. on commercial property. The extra funds-an estimated $5 million-would help promote the area and hire additional staff to clean and maintain it.