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Long-stalled development project above Mass. Pike may finally be moving forward

The long-planned Peebles development would rise above the Massachusetts Turnpike near Massachusetts Avenue, near the building above, which sits between Newbury Street and the Pike.
The long-planned Peebles development would rise above the Massachusetts Turnpike near Massachusetts Avenue, near the building above, which sits between Newbury Street and the Pike.David L. Ryan/Globe Staff

A long-dormant hotel and condominium project that would rise above the Massachusetts Turnpike in the Back Bay has taken its first small step forward in years.

The development company Peebles Corp. on Friday filed preliminary plans with the Boston Planning & Development Agency for a building on the northeast corner of Massachusetts Avenue and Boylston Street, alongside the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s Hynes Station.

The so-called Parcel 13 site was awarded in 2014 to Peebles, which planned a hotel and condos there and agreed to build new entrances and make other improvements at the MBTA station. But there has been little progress since.

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In a letter to the BPDA, Peebles consultant Mark Rosenshein said the developer has been working with transportation officials to understand the complex engineering and economic challenges of building on the site, and the plan now “represents a thoroughly understood and financially feasible development.”

At 430,000 square feet, it would be a bit bigger than what Peebles initially proposed and would reach as high as 221 feet, or 17 stories, with public space at the busy intersection, first-floor retail, and a 200-space parking garage.

The project is being revived as the long-held dream of building again above the Pike appears closer to realization than it has since nearby Copley Place opened nearly 40 years ago.

Across Massachusetts Avenue from Peebles’ site, developer Samuels & Associates plans to break ground this spring on a two-building complex above the busy highway. Slightly to the west, developer John Rosenthal is finally ready to go on the long-planned Fenway Center project, he says. But plans for another air-rights parcel, across Boylston Street from the Peebles site, fell through last summer. Its principals, veteran developer Steven Weiner and construction magnate John Fish, are squaring off in court over it.

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At Parcel 13, Peebles is getting ready to talk specifics once again. The company will file more-detailed plans and aims to soon schedule community meetings, Rosenshein said in his letter to the BPDA.



Tim Logan can be reached at timothy.logan@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter at @bytimlogan.