Private Function Hall Planned for Former Smith & Wollensky Space in Park Plaza Castle

The team that intends to transform the former Smith & Wollensky restaurant space in the Park Plaza Castle into a private function hall outlined their proposal at the Bay Village Neighborhood Association Planning Committee meeting Monday at the South Cove Apartments.

Jon D. Aieta, the applicant’s attorney, said Longwood Venues & Destinations, which also operates the State Room in Boston and Alden Castle in Brookline, would transform the site into a “first-class, luxury private event venue” for corporate events, fundraisers and weddings with a capacity of 438.

“We would encompass all four floors to take advantage of the building and its unique architecture and history,” Aieta said, adding that music offerings “would be respectful of the site” and “not anything overpowering.”

While Aieta said the applicant would seek a license for a 2 a.m. closing time, he said they would reconsider this request after learning that could potentially be a nonstarter for the proposal.

In another matter, committee members got a preview of a planned mixed-use development project that would bring affordable housing and neighborhood branch of the Boston Public Library to Chinatown.

Joel Larkin, principal of Millennium Partners – the New York City-based development firm also behind the Winthrop Center skyscraper now under construction in the Financial District – discussed plans for the 350-foot-tall, approximately 426,500 square-foot building proposed for 290 Tremont St. (a/k/a Parcel P-12C) that would consist of a 100-percent income-restricted residential tower offering up to 171 affordable rental and condo units; a hotel with up to 200 rooms; as many as 340 off-street public parking spaces; retail space with room for a café; and around 8,000 square feet of community space, which is anticipated to accommodate the library. Other elements of the project include plans for a pedestrian connection between Washington and Tremont streets, as well a courtyard with ample “sitting pockets.”

The project also marks a unique four-way collaboration between four proponents – Millennium Partners; the Asian Community Development Corporation (ACDC), a nonprofit that develops affordable housing in Chinatown; Corcoran Jennison Company, Inc., a Boston property-management company that operates the nearby Doubletree Hotel Boston Downtown; and Tufts Shared Services, Inc.

Pending securing the necessary funding from the city and state for the project, Larkin said construction could get underway by May of 2021 and is expected to take two years to complete.

Several committee members in attendance expressed concern that the proposed park could become a haven for the homeless and suggested that security measures for the site should be coordinated in concert with those for the Eliot Norton Park, which is located directly across the street.

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