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Shopping at Downtown Crossing

Downtown Crossing has been a vibrant retail center for decades. On Newbury, you might be able to find the height of fashion, at similarly lofty prices, but Downtown Crossing has always been where you go if you just need some new clothes for work, at more reasonable prices.

Parents bring their kids there on the subway to shop for school clothes, and city kids hang out there in the same way that their suburban counterparts populate “the mall.”  The lack of car traffic means street vendors can populate the sidewalks, selling everything from roasted nuts and pretzels to “Boston” sweatshirts and pocketbooks.  The economic downturn has certainly had an impact on Downtown Crossing, but the big change there has been the razing of Filene’s, long the anchor store on the corner of Summer and Washington.

Developers of the site have grand plans for a new mixed use tower, with condos, offices, and apartments on the upper floors, new retail on the ground floor. And in the basement….the return of the much loved and iconic “Filene’s Basement”.  But now, Filene’s Basement has been sold to a liquidator, and the developers are having trouble raising funds to continue the project, and what’s left is a big hole, in the center of the city.

This week, we’re looking at Downtown Crossing, and asking can it survive this latest downturn, and what might end up there in the future?  Give us your ideas for the area, and any memories you have of shopping at the old Filene’s.

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Hosts Meghna Chakrabarti and Anthony Brooks introduce us to newsmakers, big thinkers and artists and bring us stories of relevance to Bostonians here and around the region. Live every weekday at 3.

WBUR's Sacha Pfeiffer is co-hosting Radio Boston while Meghna Chakrabarti is on maternity leave.

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