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Downtown Crossing still needs a retail anchor

Holiday shoppers visited Downtown Crossing in 2012.CHARLES KRUPA/ASSOCIATED PRESS/FILE

RE “A Downtown Crossing worth the wait” by Paul McMorrow (Op-ed, April 2): Like all Bostonians, I look forward to the transformation of Downtown Crossing into a dynamic 24-seven neighborhood with a large residential base and innovative businesses and retail. Nonetheless, I reject McMorrow’s premise that the shuttering of Filene’s, not just the stalled redevelopment, ultimately benefits the district.

For all of Downtown Crossing’s alleged problems, do people forget that it was a vital retail hub until the mid-2000s? All the major closings — Filene’s, Filene’s Basement, Borders, Barnes and Noble, HMV, even Jordan Marsh — resulted from gratuitous corporate mergers or larger retailing trends, not from any lack of inherent economic viability in this dense retail hub.


Developers have a vested interest in cultivating a phoenix myth to put the best spin on the final outcome, especially if uninspired tenants such as, God forbid, a bank “flagship” were to open. Essential to the vitality that McMorrow envisions is securing a truly inspired tenant for the historic Filene’s building to anchor the district: Nordstrom, New York’s Century 21 department store, or, if one is permitted to dream, a unique American outlet of an international emporium, such as Harrod’s or Printemps, with a superb foods section.

Macy’s, which is ultimately responsible for the Downtown Crossing fiasco, would benefit from some competition.

Jonathan Unglaub