scorecardresearch Skip to main content

Plans for two towers above the Mass. Pike move forward

A rendering of two proposed Back Bay buildings, as seen from Boylston Street. Elkus Manfredi

A complicated project that could reshape a key stretch of Massachusetts Avenue in the Back Bay will soon undergo city review.

Developers have filed detailed plans for a pair of towers — 575,000 square feet of space in all — along Mass. Ave. above the Massachusetts Turnpike. The complex would include a 237-foot-tall office tower along Boylston Street and a 154-foot-high residential and hotel building along Newbury Street. Earlier estimates pegged the cost of the project at about $350 million.

Samuels & Associates’ filing with the Boston Planning & Development Agency will kick off community and city review of the project, the third of three so-called “air rights” developments proposed above the Turnpike near the busy corner of Mass. Ave. and Boylston Street.


One of those, a condo tower along Boylston near Dalton Street, was approved by the BPDA in March after being scaled back in response to neighbors’ complaints that it was too tall and massive. The other, a hotel atop the Hynes MBTA Green Line station, has been dormant for several years, though developers recently floated new plans before neighborhood groups.

The Samuels project would be the largest of the three, and may face questions from neighborhood groups about density, shadows, and other issues, although the developer said in its filing that the company has sculpted the tower to feature a slender profile facing the Back Bay. Samuels also plans to widen sidewalks and add bike lanes and a bus stop on the western side of Mass. Ave., to make the area more friendly to pedestrians and cyclists.

It also will have to figure out the mechanics of building above the busy Mass. Pike. Several projects have been proposed for above the highway in recent years, but none have launched construction. Indeed, no Pike air rights project has been built since Copley Place in the 1970s.


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