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The Millennium Tower

Last updated Jul. 25, 4:04 PM EDT

Rising from the remnants of Filene's flagship store in Downtown Crossing, Millennium Tower is Boston's third tallest building and home to both residents and retail stores. The 60-story tower was completed in September 2015. It was a key project of Mayor Thomas M. Menino’s plan to transform Downtown Crossing, the city’s shopping center, and appears to be the first in a series of tall buildings coming to the city. Residents began moving in this month. Read more coverage.


The Millennium Tower is a part of the Downtown Crossing community. David L. Ryan/Globe Staff
The Millennium Tower is a part of the Downtown Crossing community.

Shoppers are already familiar with One Franklin Street, the former home of Filene’s Department Store. The Millennium Tower is surrounded by the biggest shopping center in the city. T stops are Downtown Crossing (from both the Orange and Red lines) and Park Street. It’s also only a couple blocks to the Orpheum Theater and Boston Common.

David Butler / Globe Staff

What’s outside

According to architecture critic Robert Campbell, the Millennium Tower is beautifully done, especially for the experience it provides to people on the street level.

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The main building is 60 stories, 685 feet tall, and made of glass and steel. It has five floors of retail space, topped by residential space and a two-floor sports club.

Part of it might look very familiar to you: The former Filene’s building was converted into office space. One exterior wall was removed, and the interior of the building was gutted, but the facade of Filene’s still stands. It’s been renamed the Burnham Building: Daniel Burnham, architect of the Flatiron building in Manhattan, was the man that designed it. He died only two months before the store opened in 1912. Currently, it houses businesses such as the clothing store Primark, the Havas PR firm -- the parent company of Arnold Worldwide -- and a Roche Bros. grocery store.


The renovated Burnham Building. David L. Ryan/Globe Staff
The renovated Burnham Building.

What’s inside

An interior shot from a condo on the 51st floor. David L. Ryan/Globe Staff
An interior shot from a condo on the 51st floor.
The view from a bathroom. David L. Ryan/Globe Staff
The view from a bathroom.

The modern high-end condo building is selling more than just living space, though the condos, especially on the higher floors where the views are uninhibited, are striking. It’s selling a sort of community. The eighth and ninth floors of the tower are set aside as 23,000 square feet of high-end hang space. There’s also a gym, pool, restaurant, kids’ playroom, and library.

By the numbers

Feet tall: 685

Number of retail floors: 5

Number of condos: 442

Median price for a two-bedroom unit: $1.92 million.

Size of the “Grand” penthouse: 13,000 square feet

List price of the penthouse: $37.5 million

The backstory

Daniel Burnham designed the Filene’s building in 1911 to serve as a dramatic and beautiful new anchor of downtown Boston around which the city’s bustling commercial life would center. It was the last building he ever designed. (See a timeline of the Filene’s building here.)

The Millennium wasn’t the first building planned on the site of the old Filene’s flagship store.

In 2007, the Boston Redevelopment Authority approved a $700 million, 39-story building to be built on the site. That building was going to have a hotel, restaurant, and retail space. But in 2008, after one wall of the exterior of the Filene’s building had already been ripped off and the interior had been gutted, the project stalled due to financial problems, and a gaping hole was left in in Downtown Crossing. It was considered one of the biggest real estate debacles in city history.

The hole that sat in Downtown Crossing for years. Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff
The hole that sat in Downtown Crossing for years.

In 2012, developer Millennium Partners took over the project, and it went from a hotel to residences and grew from 39 stories to 60. The Burnham Building renovation was completed in 2014, and 700 employees from Arnold Worldwide and its parent company, Havas, moved into the 115,000-square-foot space in August 2014.

The tower’s construction was completed in 2015, and it opened for move-in in July 2016.

A photo of the tower as seen from the Charles River. David L. Ryan/Globe Staff
A photo of the tower as seen from the Charles River.