Millennium Partners-Boston yesterday broke ground on a 15-story residential tower across from the Ritz-Carlton in downtown Boston, the latest developer to start work on a large housing development in the city.
The $220 million Hayward Place will include 256 residences and 9,700 square feet of retail space in a glass and stone tower that will replace a scrubby parking lot near Downtown Crossing.
The residences are slated to be a mix of condominiums and apartments and will include one-, two-, and three-bedroom units. Hayward Place is the second large residential development to break ground in the neighborhood recently; the Kensington, which started construction earlier in the fall, is slated to add 381 units.
“New economic growth is really taking hold,’’ Mayor Thomas M. Menino of Boston said during an event to celebrate the formal start of construction yesterday. “In the last quarter, we had 1,000 new housing units break ground. The last time we saw that was in 2006’’ at the height of the real estate market, he said.
Hayward Place, designed by Handel Architects of New York, will complete Millennium Partners’ revitalization of a section of Washington Street long known as the Combat Zone for the collection of seedy strip clubs and bars that once dominated the area. In 2001 and 2002, Millennium completed the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Towers project that helped spur other redevelopment in the area, including the renovation of the Boston Opera House and the Paramount and Modern theaters.
“This is a neighborhood now, a place that didn’t exist in this form before,’’ said Anthony Pangaro, principal of Millennium Partners-Boston. “The Combat Zone is a name that has faded. . . . It’s basically gone now.’’
Hayward Place, which will also include a 125-space underground parking garage, is scheduled to be completed in 2013. It contributes to the slow and steady redevelopment of the area in recent years, with dozens of new retailers opening and hundreds of residents moving to the neighborhood. A Business Improvement District has also started operating there, using fees on commercial property owners to pay for stepped-up maintenance and uniformed “ambassadors’’ who help direct shoppers and tourists.
The only major drag on the area’s renaissance is the work stoppage at the Filene’s redevelopment, where developer Vornado Realty Trustof New York has left a giant construction crater for more than three years. After stripping Vornado of its permits for a $700 million tower, city officials recently resumed working with the firm on ideas to restart construction on the site.
Menino struck a lighter note in alluding to the Filene’s project yesterday. “Anyone want to make a bid? I’ll take $95 million,’’ the mayor quipped, adding that he believes work will eventually move forward on that site.
Casey Ross can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.