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John Hancock pulls out of building new Back Bay tower

John Hancock proposed building an office tower (rendering above) on Stuart Street.CBT Architects/CBT

John Hancock’s vision for a new Back Bay tower may still come to fruition, but now it won’t be the life insurance company that makes it happen.

The company Thursday said it will sell its property at 380 Stuart St., rather than redevelop it into a curved 26-story tower as originally planned four years ago. The site is permitted for approximately 625,000 square feet of offices, and those permits will be part of the sale.

When Hancock moved its employees out of its former headquarters on Congress Street in the Seaport last year, the company expected to eventually need three buildings for its 4,000 workers in the Back Bay. They were to include its two existing buildings at 200 Berkeley (also known as the Old John Hancock Building) and 197 Clarendon, and at least part of the proposed tower at the Stuart Street location, which currently has a vacant 144,000-square-foot building.


But a Hancock spokeswoman said that after the relocation, and related office reconfigurations, company officials determined they no longer need the Stuart Street property. The US arm of Canadian insurance giant Manulife Financial Corp., Hancock had initially hoped to finish the tower at 380 Stuart sometime this year, but construction has not even begun yet.

Meanwhile, John Hancock’s previous home at 601 Congress St. in the booming Seaport remains empty. John Hancock sold a controlling stake in the property in late 2018 but retains a minority interest and continues to manage the property.

Jon Chesto can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @jonchesto.