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The Boston Globe

Business

17-story tower to complete Prudential Center complex

FXFOWLE ARCHITECTS

A Boston developer is moving ahead with construction of a 17-story office building that will fill the last vacant parcel in the massive Prudential Center office and retail complex.

Executives at Boston Properties Inc. said work on the long-planned tower at 888 Boylston St. is scheduled to begin next month. The project, which will occupy the plaza next to the Hynes Convention Center, will include a total of 422,000 square feet of space, with about 60,000 square feet for retail stores.

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The onset of construction was triggered by a lease with Natixis Global Asset Management, a financial firm that has made a commitment to occupy up to 150,000 square feet of the building. Boston Properties said it also is talking to national and international retailers about opening in the complex, but no leases have been signed.

The project, which has proceeded in fits and starts over the years, will bring the new retail shops out to the edge of Boylston, filling the last hole in the 23-acre Prudential Center development, on which construction began in the 1960s.

The building at 888 Boylston will be the fourth office tower in the complex, which includes the Prudential Tower, 111 Huntington Ave., and 101 Huntington Ave.

The Prudential Center also has 550,000 square feet of stores and restaurants, condos and apartments, and the largest parking garage in New England, with 3,660 spaces.

“This project is really the summation of one of America’s most successful mixed-use projects,” said Bryan Koop, regional manager for Boston Properties. “It’s a huge milestone for us.”

Koop said the building will also set a new benchmark from an environmental standpoint, incorporating a rainwater collection system, wind turbines, solar panels, and a rooftop garden, among other features.

“This may not be the tallest building ever built in Boston, but in many ways it will be the most important,” said Koop, adding that it will consume 45 percent less energy than the average office building and cut water usage by 37 percent.

It will also feature floor-to-ceiling glass windows that will allow employees to work without turning the lights on 60 percent of the time.

Boston Properties obtained approval to build from the Boston Redevelopment Authority in 2008, but the down economy left the company unable to find a tenant needed to move forward with construction.

Natixis has committed to occupying five floors, with an option for a sixth. The company, whose corporate office is at 399 Boylston St., is among the world’s largest investment firms, with nearly $900 billion under management. It has added 200 employees in Boston in the past five years.

“It’s going to be a great space that will be built only for us,” said John Hailer, the company's president, said of the 888 Boylston St. tower. “It will give us more flexibility to build our office for the next generation.”

The project is expected to be completed by June 2016.

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