Also see: Columbus Center Chutzpah
"Columbus Center may get a lifeline; 2 developers to scour project's finances" by Casey Ross, Globe Staff | September 4, 2008
Columbus Center is one of the most ambitious developments in Boston - a massive hotel, residential, and retail complex that would be built on a deck that will straddle the turnpike and link two neighborhoods now divided by the highway. It would occupy four blocks between Clarendon and Tremont streets where the South End borders Back Bay.
Columbus's costs have soared to more than double its initial projected costs, from around $300 million to its most recent estimate of $800 million.
Another Big Pit?
Columbus Center suffered a series of setbacks over the last year or so. Costs for construction materials, such as steel and copper, had soared on global demand. Meanwhile, a downturn in the US residential real estate market, especially for condominiums, coupled with turmoil in the nation's credit market, made it hard to borrow money for an ever-more expensive project.
I really don't want to hear excuses anymore, especially when this state is looting its taxpayers.
The developers have been seeking an 18-month extension to reconfigure their finances, but a deadline to reach an agreement passed last week. A spokesman for the Turnpike Authority said the authority is still committed to working with the developers.
A neighborhood activist vowed to continue to scrutinize the project, especially any effort by the developer to obtain public funds. The developers "are still assuming that Massachusetts public subsidies will pay both their costs and their profits, so full financial disclosure is more necessary than ever," said the activist, Ned Flaherty, who lives around the corner in the South End from the construction site.