BOSTON (AP) — Ground was broken Tuesday for a redevelopment project intended to transform a hole that’s marred Boston’s busiest shopping district for years into a gleaming 625-foot mixed-use skyscraper.
Mayor Tom Menino and officials from developer Millennium Partners participated in a ceremony to launch construction of the $630 million project at the site of the former Filene’s department store in Downtown Crossing.
‘‘The Filene’s site is synonymous with downtown Boston,’’ Menino said. ‘‘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.’’
The 1.4 million-square-foot tower will consist of luxury residences as well as office and
retail space. Developers announced that Boston-area supermarket chain Roche Brothers will occupy some of the space. And the project also includes the restoration and preservation of the historic Burnham Building next door.
‘‘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,’’ said Christopher Jeffries, founding partner at Millennium Partners.
The groundbreaking came a day after the city approved nearly $8 million in tax breaks to the developer, to be spread out over 13 years. The development is expected to generate about $60 million in property taxes for the city.
Menino had opposed tax breaks for the previous developer, which pulled out because of financial problems at the height of the recession, leaving a crater in the middle of the city.