The abyss and Tyvek-wrapped ruins at Filenes are a disgrace and worthy of the Worst Empty Parcel award.
The loss of the Basement anchor store probably has a significant ripple effect on other retailers including Macys, Marshalls and others the long-struggling area. Now, facing the hole are nothing but empty storefronts, CVS, T-Mobile, Wendys, and more of the same crap.
I don't buy the whining that this was simply a failure due to a down economy. No relocation or demolitions should have been permitted on such a large project without financing guarantees provided by the developer. Even if the stall is to be excused, the fact that the City allowed a massive hole in the ground to remain is nothing short of a travesty. The developer/property owner should have been required to fill the hole and consider temporary structures onsite.
On another thread, it was noted how the empty Crate and Barrel store in Cambridge was temporarily used to house an interesting Marimekko exhibition.
That's the difference between world-class and third-rate.
Outside of Filenes on Summer Street, the City had erected another one of its signature art/food shantytowns opposite a small stage with a large amplified sound system. On Wednesday a single miked musician was clomping on congo drums barely in tune with blaring Karaoke style Christmas music. The scene was pathetic -- and quite telling.
The ones along Washington St. Downtown -- Filenes, Hayward Place, Kensington -- are probably the most disruptive. City Hall Plaza isn't far behind only because there is hardly anything to disrupt. It's a wind-swept vacant lot disguised as civic space. As is the Greenway.