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    310-foot tower atop Motor Mart garage would be a big change for neighborhood

    A rendering of the proposed development of the Motor Mart garage, as seen from Stuart Street.
    A rendering of the proposed development of the Motor Mart garage, as seen from Stuart Street.

    Another prominent Boston parking garage could be getting an extreme makeover.

    Developers have filed detailed plans to build a 310-foot tower atop the Motor Mart garage on Stuart Street. Los Angeles-based CIM Group and Boston Global Investors hope to start construction next year on the building, which would rise from the base of the nearly 90-year-old garage, and feature a new look for the concrete facade at street level.

    Documents filed with the Boston Planning & Development Agency outline a tower that would include 306 apartments and condominiums in 20 stories above the eight-story garage. The project would sacrifice 365 of the 1,037 parking spaces in the garage, which was the world’s largest when it opened in 1929.


    Promoted as “more than a place to park your car,” the Motor Mart was built to include a car wash, a Texaco station, and a bus terminal to capitalize, in part, on its proximity to the Statler Hotel — now the Park Plaza — across the street.

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    The redevelopment project is the latest of several to repurpose, but also retain, garages in central Boston, where parking comes at a premium. Other developers are planning condos atop the Dock Square garage near Faneuil Hall, and work is underway on a multitower complex above the Government Center garage.

    CIM paid $162.5 million to buy the Motor Mart in 2016 and filed initial development plans earlier this year. Now it will begin a formal public review, with community meetings and study by a panel of local architects.

    If approved, the tower would further transform a part of the city that has seen a flurry of development, including a proposed 199-foot tower the BPDA approved last year directly across Stuart Street.

    That project is facing pushback from residents of Bay Village who worry it would overwhelm the tiny neighborhood tucked away between Stuart Street and the Massachusetts Turnpike. The Motor Mart tower could face a challenge from the other direction, as studies indicate it would cast new shadows on the Public Garden and Boston Common during the month of December — though within guidelines allowed under new shadow laws the Walsh administration pushed through the Legislature last year.

    Tim Logan can be reached at Follow him on Twitter at @bytimlogan.