0 Boston Real Estate Continues to Battle Height Restrictions

Tallest office buildings in Boston

Credit: Boston Globe

The city of Boston will no doubt entertain towers that exceed the 790-feet of 200 Clarendon Street, formerly known as the John Hancock Tower.

The location of Boston’s next tallest tower will most likely fall in the Back Bay neighborhood. This is due to the restriction imposed by the FAA from the Seaport and Financial District, as well as the shadow effect on Boston Common in the Mid-Town area.

According to the Boston Globe, “many Bostonians have come to love the relatively modest scale of the city’s neighborhoods. That affection surfaces every time someone proposes a building of substantial height. Invariably, issues like shadows and wind are raised.

‘Our neighborhoods, from the North End to the Back Bay to the South End, are full of people who love living in what appears to be a 19th-century community,” said Robert Brown, managing director at architecture firm Perkins+Will. “To them, tall buildings mean more density, more parking, more shadow.’”

Related Real Estate
Back Bay Office Space for Lease
• Boston Financial District Real Estate

0 Boston Harbor Tower Plan Revised

Boston Harbor project developer Don Chiofaro

Credit: Boston Globe

Boston Harbor might soon have a new development approved for its shores. It appears Don Chiofaro has amended his proposed plans for his new Boston Tower to conform to the city’s zoning rules.

From the Boston Globe:

[Chiofaro will] push forward with his bid to put a skyscraper on the site of the Harbor Garage, and to do it within proposed zoning rules that he fought for years to loosen without success. It would still be a billion-dollar-plus project, a bookend to the International Place towers he built in the 1980s, but not quite as grand as he envisioned.

It’s likely to be several months, at least, before Chiofaro can file specific plans with the BRA. Then, given a year or more for permitting, construction wouldn’t start until 2018, at the earliest.

0 Boston is Contemporizing Outward, not Upward

Credit: B&T

Credit: B&T

Boston is clearly seeing a tremendous amount of new construction from office to multi-family in all areas of the city. Once you dig deeper into the numbers you come to realize that the height of the vast majority of new projects doesn’t exceed 200 – 300 feet. The exceptions are 1 Dalton and Millennium Tower at 700 feet and 690 feet, respectively. Boston developers instead are building what the market wants at a price point the market can support. Some of the challenges with going about 300 feet requires an additional elevator core which increases the add on factor.

According to Banker and Tradesman, “almost all of Boston’s true office skyscrapers – 500 feet and up – were built in the 1980s and before. The Hancock and Prudential towers may be gems of the Boston skyline, but they are also the last of a dying breed and one we are unlikely to see again anytime soon…Since 2000, Boston has seen 52 new office, condo and apartment buildings take shape. The vast majority of them – 36 – are between 200 and 300 feet.”

You can read the full article on B&T’s website.

0 Boston Towers Still Short of Manhattan’s Scale

Boston office towers

Credit: The Real Reporter

Boston won’t be scaling up to the development heights of projects underway in NYC.  Boston’s newest tower comes in at nearly half the height of New York’s Nordstrom Tower.

From The Real Reporter:

When comparing to New York’s major projects under development, Boston comes up very short with Millennium Tower as its tallest, versus Nordstrom Tower, by more than double its size.  Nordstrom Tower (when complete) is set to be crowned the World’s tallest, towering in at 1,775 Feet, while Millennium will top off at 685 feet.

0 Boston’s Projected Skyline in 2020

office space at Prudential center

Credit: Curbed Boston

The Boston Skyline is expect to change by 2020 and here’s what it might look like. The interesting part of this is 3 of the top 10 are residential, where is years past the top 10 have always been office.

Curbed, Boston recently published a projected list of the 10 tallest buildings in 2020, including the following three:

  • 200 Clarendon
  • Winthrop Square Tower
  • Prudential Center Tower

You can find the full list on Curbed Boston

0 322-story Office Tower Carrying ‘sails’ proposed for Seaport

Seaport Sails Tower

Credit: Boston Globe

Sails are coming to the Seaport are of Boston, if developer Jon Cronin has his way with the BRA.

From the Boston Globe:

The 250-foot-tall building, designed by architect Howard Elkus, would feature a twisting, angular design out toward the World Trade Center and Boston Harbor. It was inspired, in part, by the city’s recent push for bolder design in the booming Seaport, Cronin said, which has prompted other developers to move beyond the boxy looks that characterized many of the neighborhood’s earlier projects.

“We had already designed a striking yet cost-efficient tower until I attended Mayor [Martin] Walsh’s speech last December urging developers to build more architecturally significant buildings,” said Cronin in a statement. “We decided to meet that challenge.”

0 Boston to Limit Office Tower Signs

office building of PwC in downtown Boston

Credit: Boston Globe

To get you companies name in lights on a building in Boston will now be a formalized policy according to the BRA.  Personally I am a fan of fewer signs rather than seeing our rooftops littered with every brand that occupies our city.

According to a Boston Globe article, “The Boston Redevelopment Authority is working on a new sign policy, one that would formalize by early next year the agency’s often-informal approach, just as Boston’s building boom could bring another round of requests for prominent corporate signage.”

More from the Globe:

“Quite often, when you go to other cities, you’ll see corporate names on top of buildings,” said David Carlson, the Boston Redevelopment Authority’s deputy director for urban design. “The general preference [here] is to not have a skyline dominated by corporate signs and instead to have a skyline that’s dominated by hopefully interesting buildings.”

0 4 Class A Buildings in Boston Under Construction with At Least 50k Sq. Ft.

According to CoStar, there are 4 Class A buildings under construction that can accommodate users of 50,000 square feet or more.  They are located in the Seaport and Back Bay and have combined number of 1,610,202 square feet.

Building Address Submarket Name Number Of Stories Rentable Building Area  Typical Floor Size  Max Floor Contiguous Space  Total Available Space (SF)
888 Boylston Back Bay 17                    425,000             25,000                              26,170                             89,173
100 Northern Ave Seaport 17                    395,202             23,247                              32,006                           154,931
140 Northern Ave Seaport 13                    375,000             30,769                              28,846                           374,998
121 Seaport Blvd Seaport 17                    415,000             24,412                              34,400                           414,202
 Total                 1,610,202



0 Proposed Back Bay Tower on Stuart Street Revealed

Please have a look at Back Bay’s newest proposed tower on Stuart Street.  This will be 625,000 RSF on 26 floors.

Stuart St. Tower in Back Bay

Credit: BBJ

From the Boston Business Journal:

Boston-based insurance giant John Hancock has submitted its expanded project notification form to city officials, and with the document comes a broader look at the firm’s proposed 26-story Back Bay tower…John Hancock’s proposed 388-foot tower at 380 Stuart St. is slated to span 625,000 square feet, of which 10,000 square feet would be ground-floor retail. The tower would also include a four-level, 175-space underground parking deck.

0 Copley’s Iconic Hancock Tower Named Changed to 200 Clarendon St.

John Hancock building at 200 Clarendon

Credit: BBJ

Good bye to the JHT, John Hancock Tower, hello 200 Clarendon Street.

From B&T:

Landlord Boston Properties has formally renamed New England’s tallest building, the 60-story John Hancock Tower, now that Manulife’s John Hancock Insurance division no longer occupies any office space in the mirrored glass rhomboid.

“We’re not allowed to call it (the Hancock Tower) anymore as the Hancock Manulife lease expired at the end of the second quarter,” Boston Properties President Douglas Linde said during a conference call today.

Boston Properties acquired the property in 2010 for $930 million. Leases by John Hancock and State Street Corp. totaling 414,000 square feet recently expired, increasing vacancies in the 1.7-million-square-foot tower. Boston Properties is repositioning the former State Street offices as tech space under the “120 St. James” name, reflecting a new entrance on that avenue.