South Station tower wins city approval, but hurdles remain

The Boston Globe | By Tim Logan
December 16, 2016

south-stat-towerAn ambitious but long-stalled plan for a skyscraper atop South Station won a key city approval Thursday night. But it will need to clear significant hurdles from the property owner — the state transportation agency.

The Boston Planning & Development Agency board approved plans for a 51-story office and condominium tower over the busy rail hub. Development firm Hines hopes to break ground in April, though it’s still negotiating final details of the plan with state transportation officials.

Hines would build the tower above the rail shed at South Station, with a lobby along Atlantic Avenue. That lobby would fill in the gap between South Station’s main concourse and its bus terminal, and would expand the bus facilities by 50 percent. It would also expand a parking garage, adding 527 spaces.

Above that, Hines would build 1.1 million square feet of office space and condos in what, at 677 feet high, would rank among the city’s tallest buildings. Later phases would add two mid-rise buildings atop the station.

The complex project has been on the drawing boards for a quarter-century, and Hines won approval from the city for a different version of the project in 2006. It sat dormant until the Houston-based developer revived it this summer with tweaked plans and investment from a large Chinese homebuilder.

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