Affordable Housing Loses - Again

The PLA-burdened Winthop Tower project has stalled and developers are scaling way back. As a result, the city has lost $26 million in affordable housing funds, reports today's Boston Globe.


In March, we pointed out Winthrop Tower and the Suffolk Downs development were coming up short on the affordable housing potential. A common denominator is both projects are being build without fair and open bidding to all qualified bidders, and instead were using only union labor. This despite the fact the vast majority of Massachusetts construction workforce - over 80% - choose to be non-union.


Time and again, we have shown creating a union monopoly increases costs by limiting bids and imposing inefficient union work rules. Developers are blaming the project's delay on financing issues caused by the pandemic, but there is little doubt that inflated labor costs also saddle PLA projects.


The Globe reported: "The Boston Planning & Development Agency board blessed Millennium Partners’ plan to pare the partly built tower by about 100,000 square feet and allow rentals instead of for-sale condos on its upper floors. The height will remain at 691 feet, making it the Financial District’s tallest building. The veteran downtown developer said it needs the changes to salvage the $1.3 billion project after $800 million in loans fell through at the start of the coronavirus pandemic. While work began in late 2018, construction has been stopped for several months while Millennium seeks additional financing."


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