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Massive tower planned for Government Center

The proposed redevelopment of the Goverment Center Garage in Downtown Boston.

CBT Architects

The proposed redevelopment of the Goverment Center Garage in Downtown Boston.

A Boston developer on Wednesday filed plans to replace the hulking Government Center Garage with a new complex of commercial and residential buildings, including a 600-foot office tower that would be one of the tallest skyscrapers in the city.

The project by HYM Investment Group LLC would demolish much of the garage to make way for six new buildings with 771 residences, 1.3 million square feet of office space, 1,100 parking spaces, and 82,500 square feet of stores and restaurants.

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In addition to the 600-foot office tower, the plan also calls for a pair of large residential buildings -- one 470 feet and another 275 feet. Those three buildings would be situated on the western side of Congress Street closest to Government Center. On the opposite side of Congress, HYM would build a 275-foot hotel and condominium building, additional offices and stores that would form a new public square along the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway.

If approved by Boston regulators, construction could start late next year, according to HYM, whose managing director is Thomas N. O’Brien, a former head of the Boston Redevelopment Authority in the 1990s. The complex was designed by CBT Architects.

The project would demolish the portion of the 11-story Government Center Garage that straddles Congress Street near City Hall, thus removing a massive barrier that divides the North End and West End neighborhoods from Government Center. The 4.8-acre site is one of the last major redevelopment parcels along the greenway, and would bring a new level of height to an area that mostly consists of mid-rise government buildings.

“Our goal is to take a large, underutilized concrete parking structure that no longer contributes to today’s reinvigorated urban downtown and transform it into a place that residents, companies, their employees, and visitors will embrace as another great Boston destination,” said O’Brien. “The surrounding neighborhoods will engage with each other again.”

The garage was built in 1970 and contains 2,300 parking spaces, 250,000 square feet of offices, and 40,000 square feet of retail stores. It has been targeted for redevelopment since 2007, when it was acquired by a joint venture of the National Electrical Benefit Fund and the British-based Lewis Trust Group.

A prior plan by developer Ted Raymond for two office skyscrapers, stores and residences failed to gain traction in City Hall. O’Brien was then tapped to replace Raymond as development manager, and has spent months crafting a new plan for the property.

Overall, his proposal would include 2.4 million square feet of new space on both sides of Congress Street. Construction would be broken into multiple phases, starting with the 470-foot, or 45-story, residential tower that would include both apartments and condominiums, followed by the 600-foot, 48-story office building, the hotel, and some additional offices, residences and stores.

The project would retain about 1,100 parking spaces in a portion of the old garage that would would be hidden from view by the new buildings on the west side of Congress Street. It would also have storage space for about 850 bicycles, and a Hubway rental station. Given its size and complexity, it would likely take many years to complete.

HYM has not disclosed a price tag, but the prior project proposed by Raymond was estimated to cost $2.2 billion. At full build-out, according to HYM, the project would produce about $11 million annually in taxes and would generate about 2,600 construction jobs.

The firm is also lead developer on the 5-million-square-foot NorthPoint development in East Cambridge and is a partner on Waterside Place, a 20-story luxury apartment complex under construction in the South Boston Innovation District.

Casey Ross can be reached at cross@globe.com.
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