Boston doesn’t build tall buildings very often, so any proposal to erect a cluster of them is an anomaly. The towers slated to rise above the Government Center Garage and the old Boston Garden site stand out even more because developers are clamoring to erect some of the city’s highest buildings in a neighborhood that was, until recently, a backwater.
The proposed 600-foot towers will put multiple exclamation points on the Bulfinch Triangle’s emergence from its pre-Big Dig shadows. Seen from the harbor, the two mega-projects will extend the Financial District’s cluster of towers out of downtown, and to the foot of the Zakim Bridge. But the towers — which are using height as a tool for advancing the streets around them — don’t represent an extension of Boston’s downtown, but rather, the triumph of its Back Bay. With the towers, the mixture of significant height and fine-grain neighborhood streets that enabled the Back Bay’s success now spreads to the rest of the city.