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Don Chiofaro’s Harbor Garage Tower Moves Closer To Reality

Under new Boston waterfront zoning, developer Don Chiofaro can build a 600-foot tower on the site of the garage he owns to the right of the Harbor Towers.

After years of battles with neighbors, an aquarium and City Hall, developer Don Chiofaro got approval from state regulators to push ahead with plans to build a 600-foot skyscraper on the Boston waterfront. 

Massachusetts Environmental Secretary Matt Beaton approved a Boston waterfront zoning plan Monday. The plan dictates zoning on a 42-acre plot from Long Wharf to the Moakley Bridge, and it enables Chiofaro’s development to move ahead, the Boston Globe reports.

The zoning also clears a path for a 305-foot tower to be built on the Hook Lobster property near the Northern Avenue bridge. Chiofaro and the Hook family’s development team have to return to the city and file specific building proposals, opening another round of neighborhood input. 

Chiofaro told the Globe he plans to quickly file plans for his project, which has received the most criticism of the two developments. 

Neighbors at the adjoining Harbor Towers condo development have opposed the project for its impact on parking (residents use the parking garage Chiofaro’s building would replace) and open space and for being too large. An initial proposal for the development called for two towers and 1.3M SF of overall development, but most expect the new proposal will entail a single tower and less square footage. 

While Harbor Towers residents remain opposed, one former Chiofaro detractor appears to be on board. The state approval Monday guarantees a deal the developer made with the neighboring New England Aquarium to protect it from lost business during construction.

Chiofaro has agreed to establish a fund of up to $30M to account for any lost revenue and will permanently reserve parking at the new building for aquarium visitors. He will also donate $10M for the aquarium’s proposal for a “Blue Way” waterfront park to be built on Central Wharf.