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22-story tower featuring ‘billowing sails’ proposed for Seaport

Developer Jon Cronin wants to build a 22-story building (shown in rendering) at the current site of the Whiskey Priest. The project’s architect seeks in his design to suggest qualities of the sea.
Developer Jon Cronin wants to build a 22-story building (shown in rendering) at the current site of the Whiskey Priest. The project’s architect seeks in his design to suggest qualities of the sea.Elkus Manfredi Architects

The Seaport District could get another striking waterfront condo tower.

Developer Jon Cronin filed notice with the Boston Redevelopment Authority Monday that he wants to build a 22-story complex at 50 Seaport Blvd., the site of the Whiskey Priest and Atlantic Beer Garden.

The 250-foot-tall building, designed by architect Howard Elkus, would feature a twisting, angular design out toward the World Trade Center and Boston Harbor. It was inspired, in part, by the city's recent push for bolder design in the booming Seaport, Cronin said, which has prompted other developers to move beyond the boxy looks that characterized many of the neighborhood's earlier projects.

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"We had already designed a striking yet cost-efficient tower until I attended Mayor [Martin] Walsh's speech last December urging developers to build more architecturally significant buildings," said Cronin in a statement. "We decided to meet that challenge."

150 Seaport Boulevard
A residential tower is planned at the current site of Whiskey Priest and Atlantic Beer Garden.

Cronin's architectural team spent an additional year re-doing designs for the building, which is now oriented toward the harbor with a curved design that adds views out over the water and a terraced front along Seaport Boulevard with views toward downtown Boston.

The building's location offered a unique opportunity for an iconic structure, Elkus said. The shape of the building evokes billowing sails, he said, and with a bow-like end that calls to mind the ships that ply the harbor.

"The rotation and movement of this building celebrates the forces of the sea," Elkus said. "This building really has a romance with the Atlantic Ocean."

It is one of several buildings proposed in the Seaport recently that are attempting to distinguish themselves from the first generation of construction in the booming business district, which has been criticized for being overly boxy.

At 121 Seaport Blvd., Skanska USA is building an elliptical office tower, marketing to tenants the chance to be in an "iconic" building. Nearby, California-based Cottonwood Management plans to start construction early next year on a $750 million complex of apartment and condominium buildings that are staggered in height and shape.

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Developers say that demand for space in the district is strong enough to command the higher prices that might come with sacrificing a bit of square footage for more creative designs.

Cronin, who bought the site in 2006, is planning 110 condominiums in the building, following a trend toward such housing along the waterfront. Fallon Co.'s 22 Liberty condo project a few blocks to the west sold out quickly — and at high prices — this summer, and several more condo projects are in development.

The 275,000 square-foot building would also include two stories of retail and restaurant space, an underground garage, and a large open-air deck that continues the Harborwalk between Pier 4 and Northern Avenue.

Pending approvals, Cronin hopes to start construction in 2017 and open the building in 2019.

A view looking toward Boston Harbor of the planned residential building on Seaport Boulevard.
A view looking toward Boston Harbor of the planned residential building on Seaport Boulevard.Elkus Manfredi Architects

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