Back Bay plan could bring dead zone to life


The Boston Globe | By Tim Logan
October 26, 2016

bbayTwo Boston developers are proposing to build a pair of residential towers on one of the last dead zones in the Back Bay, a collection of empty lots that straddle Massachusetts Avenue along and above the turnpike.

The team of Adam Weiner and Steve Samuels unveiled their plans Tuesday evening at a community meeting in the Back Bay. The complex would include an angular glass condominium tower rising 559 feet above Boylston Street with a 24-story apartment tower alongside, near the Hynes Convention Center. A separate mid-rise building would be built across the highway on the far side of Mass. Ave. and Boylston Street.

The two projects could refill some of the last remaining gaps in the Back Bay created by the construction of the Massachusetts Turnpike. But as with several other projects in the works along the turnpike, Weiner’s and Samuels’ success hinges on solving a puzzle that has stymied builders for decades: How to build an expensive platform above the busy highway.

Weiner and Samuels were awarded the air rights to the properties from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation in 2013, and proposed a single tower of around 400 feet that would have included a hotel and residences. The pair changed and expanded the scope of the project after partnering with the insurer Prudential Financial Inc., which owns an adjacent air-rights parcel.

This would be the third big development to come to this end of the Back Bay.

A 26-story apartment building called 30 Dalton just opened down the block, while construction is underway at One Dalton, a luxury condo tower and Four Seasons Hotel that will be the city’s third-tallest building.

Weiner will lead development of the project near the Hynes. He said he isn’t worried about timing a real estate market that is swelling with new luxury housing.

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