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Developer breaking ground on Boston’s tallest new skyscraper

The proposed building is seen in center in this rendering.Pei Cobb Freed/ Cambridge Seven Associates

Boston is in the midst of an unprecedented construction boom, but many of the new buildings are unremarkable midrises or boxy office towers — common on so many skylines across the United States.

Not this one.

On Wednesday, developer Richard L. Friedman will formally kick off construction of the tallest skyscraper to be built in Boston in 40 years — a 700-foot tower at 1 Dalton St. that will include the city’s second Four Seasons Hotel and some of its most expensive condominiums.

“This will be the highest quality ever built in the city,” said Friedman, chief executive of Cambridge-based Carpenter & Co.


“It has 11-foot ceilings, a fireplace in every condominium, the best kitchens, the best everything. It’s going to be the top of the market.”

The $750 million project will rise on a triangular plot at the edge of the Christian Science Plaza. Construction is expected to be completed in 2017.

The building’s scale and grandeur symbolize a broader change sweeping through Boston, which has become a premier market for real estate investment worldwide. Friedman’s building is being financed by investors from 26 countries, including a chunk of equity from Microsoft Corp. founder Bill Gates.

“I think people have got to realize that we’re not good old Boston anymore,” said Gregory Vasil, chief executive of the Greater Boston Real Estate Board. “We are a different place, and that’s reflected in the amount of foreign investment. We’ve got people flocking here from all over the world.”

Friedman said he expects about 30 percent of the condominiums in the skyscraper to be purchased by international buyers.

His company was selected to redevelop the property by the First Church of Christ, Scientist, whose mother church is situated on the adjacent property, along with the church’s signature plaza and reflecting pool.

The Boston Redevelopment Authority approved the project in September 2013.


The 61-story tower will include a 211-room Four Seasons Hotel and 180 luxury condos on the upper floors. On an adjacent site, Pritzker Realty Group, of Chicago, is constructing a 26-story apartment building.

As part of the city’s inclusionary development policy, Friedman has committed to building 29 affordable units off site, though he has not disclosed the location. Pritzker is building 14 affordable units on site, and 14 more at another location.

Friedman’s skyscraper will be a major new peak on the high spine of buildings that runs through the Back Bay to the waterfront.

“This is a signature project in many ways for Boston,” said Mayor Martin J. Walsh. He said the development would put Boston “in an elite group with only a few other cities around the world.”

Boston will be one of seven cities with two Four Seasons hotels. The others are London, Shanghai, Singapore, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Istanbul.

The skyscraper at One Dalton is being designed by Hancock Tower architect Harry N. Cobb, of Pei Cobb Freed & Partners, in collaboration with Gary Johnson of Cambridge Seven Associates Inc.

Johnson said the design is meant to add a powerful new form that will stand apart on the city’s skyline.

“This building is going to have the quality the Hancock has where you will always know where you are in the city by looking back to that building,” he said.

The building will feature a curved glass facade and a base of New England granite. A 5,000-square foot park designed by the renowned landscape architect Michael Van Valkenburgh will sit between the skyscraper and Pritzker’s apartment building.


Each condo in what will be called Four Seasons Hotel & Private Residences One Dalton Street will include a bay window, and units on the upper floors will have open-air balconies. The tower will house two public restaurants and two lounges, plus an owners-only restaurant club on the 50th floor.

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Casey Ross can be reached at