Construction workers carry out site preparation work on the future site of One Boston Place, next to Boston’s Old State House. Photo courtesy of City of Boston Archives, Boston Redevelopment Authority photographs, Collection # 4010.001

What: Government Center redevelopment dispute
When: July 22, 1963
Where: Boston City Hall 

Boston City Council rejected the Government Center redevelopment plan by a 5-4 vote, after opponents claimed that the Boston Redevelopment Authority engaged in secret talks with a developer on a proposed office tower. 

BRA Director Ed Logue recommended that Cabot, Cabot & Forbes redevelop Parcel 8 as a tower anchored by tenant New England Merchants National Bank. CC&F was a pioneer of office park development on Route 128, and BRA leadership was determined to lure them as a downtown investor as it battled suburban flight. 

In 1965, a panel appointed by Mayor John Collins named CC&F as the preferred developer for a 40-story office tower which became known as One Boston Place. 

“Although the battle over Parcel 8 substantially delayed city council approval of Government Center until May 1965, ultimately the BRA prevailed in the state’s highest court and a blue-ribbon panel appointed by the mayor to run a competition for the site ended up filing the project to Cabot, Cabot & Forbes anyway.” 

— “Saving America’s Cities: Ed Logue and the Struggle to Renew Urban America in the Suburban Age” by Lizabeth Cohen

To celebrate its 150th anniversary, Banker & Tradesman is highlighting significant moments in the history of Massachusetts’ real estate and banking industries. To suggest a topic, email

This Month in History: Government Center Face-Off

by Steve Adams time to read: 1 min