An 85 unit six story apartment house with retail space on the first floor has been proposed for 602 Broadway.
On its face, this is the most interesting, costly, and likely the most stunning development offered for Broadway in a half century.
Only Sal Sacro’s apartment house across from the Parlin Library is bigger, and that structure is not on Broadway.
The former Pope John Property in size and mass is also similar although it is not a Broadway residential property.
We wonder, and city hall watchers wonder, too, how this property development proposal will sail through political channels here without inspiring the wrath, the indifference or the outright negativity that leads to such projects being rejected out of hand for all the wrong reasons.
It will likely be approved without a hitch because a good friend and confidante of the mayor, John Tocco, is the co-developer of the property and the mayor is therefor privately behind its approval.
It is likely to take a good $20 million to acquire the property and to develop the new building.
This is all good.
What is not good is the strong connection between Tocco, the former Encore official and the mayor, who takes a keen interest in new development.
Tocco resigned his position at Encore Boston Harbor as the community liaison which he held for five years about two months ago. Now he has come back with a huge, multi-million development
proposal the mayor will be likely to back.
This project had to be in the planning stage long before Tocco left
his position, revealing a further collusion.
A development proposal across the street had to wait two years to get final approval because of a lack of parking and general opposition by various boards with the mayor’s OK, and it is comprised of only 18 units and one commercial space and had to be cut back from 21 units.
A second development project without parking in Glendale Square for microunits – units for individuals without automobiles seeking smaller, more affordable spaces – had to be reduced in height and numbers of units from 21 to 18 as well after a bit of city hall wrangling.
In some quarters the mayor’s support for the 602 Broadway development, whether public or private, needs to be carefully questioned by the city solicitor or outside counsel for an obvious conflict of interest, or worse.
We urge the mayor and Tocco to issue public statements indicating there is no partnership either real or imagined between the two.
The mayor should recuse himself from having anything whatsoever to do with this development.
The mayor and Tocco became close friends meeting repeatedly both privately and publicly with him, quite often breaking bread with him during the past five years. They came to know and like one another.
Now Tocco is coming back after only two months away from his job at the casino with the largest, most grandiose downtown residential development ever planned in this city in its modern history.
Everything about this development deserves a much closer legal, ethical and aesthetic look before it receives final approval.