Boston’s Government Center Garage, the scene of a fatal construction accident Saturday that claimed the life of 51-year-old Peter Monsini, once closed for half a year in the 1980s after city officials had deemed the property structurally unsafe.
Monsini, of Easton, was killed Saturday evening when the floor buckled under him as he was operating heavy machinery, causing him and the equipment to fall nine stories to the ground, officials said
The garage was shuttered for part of 1981 after officials flagged it as unsafe following a review by an outside consultant.
A shifting support beam, corroding steel supports, and cracked, low-quality concrete were cited as reasons for the temporary shutdown for repairs, the Globe reported at the time.
The outside consultant had reported that the garage’s most serious defects had surfaced incidentally to the main purpose of the study: figuring out why some expansion joints on the garage floor were higher than others.
The report cited wire mesh reinforcing exposed by the weathering of shoddy concrete, corroding steel supports, and cracking of major girders. The consultant at the time recommended improvements, rather than outright closure of the garage.
But the problems were so severe that city officials said during the closure that they couldn’t rule out the possibility of the garage shutting down permanently, with a spokesman for then-Mayor Kevin White explaining that City Hall was trying “to determine whether it is salvageable or not.”
It was; the garage reopened in two phases in May and July of 1981.
The Globe had reported in December 1980 that the garage was “a source of problems” since its construction as part of what officials dubbed the Government Center Urban Renewal Project. The city had sued the now-defunct garage builder for delays and defects and received just over $500,000 in civil proceedings.
In more recent years, the garage has been getting a full overhaul as part of a massive office-and-residential complex known as Bulfinch Crossing.
A 480-foot apartment and condo tower called The Sudbury was constructed on top of the garage along Sudbury Street and opened in 2020. A 600-foot office tower — One Congress — is nearing completion on the New Chardon Street side. In January, the Boston Planning & Development Agency approved a request by developer The HYM Investment Group to redesign the next phase — across Congress Street — as a single, 12-story life science building, instead of three office and residential-oriented buildings around a pedestrian plaza. That work requires demolishing the parts of the garage that hang over Congress Street and on the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway.
Material from prior Globe stories was used in this report, and Tim Logan and Jeremiah Manion of the Globe Staff contributed.
Travis Andersen can be reached at email@example.com.