Government Center Garage project downsizing

Developer responds to neighbors’ criticism

The developer wants to demolish the Government Center Garage after completing construction of a residential building that will be part of a new complex.

David L. Ryan/Globe staff/File 2009

The developer wants to demolish the Government Center Garage after completing construction of a residential building that will be part of a new complex.

The company behind the massive Government Center Garage redevelopment in downtown Boston is reducing the height of two of the project’s main buildings in response to concerns voiced by neighbors.

HYM Investment Group LLC will cut its proposed office tower to 528 feet from 600 feet and will nearly slice in half a hotel and condominium building it wants to build along the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway. That building will be trimmed to 157 feet from 275 feet.


“I think we’ve come up with something that our team and the leadership of the surrounding neighborhoods can get behind,” Thomas N. O’Brien, managing director of HYM, said of the revised plan. “Our whole goal is to remove the garage as a blight to this portion of the downtown.”

O’Brien is proposing to replace a large portion of the nine-story garage with a towering complex of six buildings that would contain more than 800 residences, 196 hotel rooms, 1.1 million square feet of office space, and several stores and restaurants.

Get Talking Points in your inbox:
An afternoon recap of the day’s most important business news, delivered weekdays.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

The changes in the plans were outlined in documents released Monday by the Boston Redevelopment Authority, whose approval is needed before the project can move forward.

O’Brien said he wants to start construction of the first building, a 480-foot residential tower, next year.

In addition to reducing the size of some buildings, HYM will accelerate the timetable for demolition of a large portion the garage, which straddles Congress Street and has long been a barrier between Boston’s downtown and the West End and North End neighborhoods.


Initially, HYM had planned to raze the section of the garage over Congress Street in the latter phases of what could be a 20-year building project. Now, the company is proposing to proceed with demolition after completing construction of the first residential building.

“That’s going to accelerate construction of the retail and the streetscape improvements that will provide the most significant benefits to the community,” said Robert O’Brien, executive director of the Downtown North Association, a civic group. He is not related to the O’Brien of HYM Investment Group.

The Government Center Garage redevelopment is one of several major building proposals that could significantly reshape the West End in coming years. Another developer is proposing a pair of massive buildings in front of TD Garden, and construction is underway on hundreds of new residences around North Station.

State Representative Aaron Michlewitz, whose district includes the West End and the North End, said HYM’s proposed height reductions are a step in the right direction.

“This will certainly be welcomed by people in the abutting neighborhoods,” Michlewitz said, adding that he will continue to push for the incorporation of student housing to help accommodate the growth of local universities.

Overall, HYM is planning to build 812 residences, divided between apartments and condominiums.

HYM has said it is open to discussing construction of student housing, but it has yet to include such units in its plans.

‘Our whole goal is to remove the garage as a blight to this portion of the downtown.’

Quote Icon

The company’s latest filing triggers a 75-day public comment period.

O’Brien said that he is hoping to get approval from the BRA’s board by the end of the year.

Casey Ross can be reached at
Loading comments...
Real journalists. Real journalism. Subscribe to The Boston Globe today.
We hope you've enjoyed your free articles.
Continue reading by subscribing to for just 99¢.
 Already a member? Log in Home
Subscriber Log In

We hope you've enjoyed your 5 free articles'

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of
Marketing image of