Massport:Winthrop Sq Tower is Too High

By Beth Treffeisen

The proposed mixed use 775-foot high tower slated for 115 Winthrop Square, which is known for casting controversial new shadows on the public parks downtown, has received yet another challenge from the air.

The Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) came out against the proposed height of the building, saying it would interfere with the flight patterns out of Logan International Airport, if exceed 710 feet.

Massport stated that a building height greater than 710 feet above sea level at the 115 Winthrop Square would have significant impacts on Logan Airport operations.

These include significantly impacting Runway 27 departures. A building at the proposed height at this location would significantly reduce the capacity of the remaining airspace.

It will also cause airlines to shift departures from Runway 27 to 33L that would reduce the efficiency of flight departure configurations in a Northwest wind condition.

The change would also shift more flights and associated noise from communities south of Boston to communities west and north of Boston.

If built, it would also restrict existing Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) circle-to-land operations to all runways, reducing flexibility of Logan FAA Air Traffic Control Tower to manage close-in flights.

“Massport supports new development projects that strengthen our economy and provide employment opportunities to its residents,” wrote Stewart Dalzell deputy director of environmental planning and permitting, in the letter. “Our main aviation priority is to ensure aircraft are able to operate in a safe and efficient manner in and around Logan Airport.”

Massport asked the developers of Winthrop Square to explore alternative designs that meet the same project goals without exceeding the height of the 710 feet above sea level that would cause significant adverse effects to Logan Airport operational and noise impacts.

The Logan Airspace Map defines the critical airspace around Boston Logan International Airport in order to protect the flight corridors in and out of the airport. The map was created to help developers and regulatory authorities on building heights.

“Massport is committed to collaborating with the MCAF Winthrop LLC to ensure that the project complies with the Airspace Map and can be completed in a timely manner,” wrote Dalzell.

He continued, “Massport will work with the proponent from the beginning of the design and permitting process and during construction to minimize the impact of the cranes on Logan airspace.”

The comment period for this project through the Boston Planning and Development Agency was recently extended to January 20 from the previous January 16 deadline, due to the Monday holiday. To submit comments visit

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