One of Boston’s homegrown tech companies will soon get a high-profile perch above the Massachusetts Turnpike.
As expected, Cambridge-based CarGurus has agreed to lease 11 floors of an office tower planned for the corner of Massachusetts Avenue and Boylston Street in the Back Bay, anchoring what would be the first Pike “air rights” project built in four decades.
The growing company will lease 275,000 square feet, about two-thirds of the building, holding down a major intersection and putting its name in front of thousands of motorists — potential customers for the online used-car marketplace — every day.
“We think this building will be an incredibly unique opportunity,” CarGurus chief financial officer Jason Trevisan said. “From an employee perspective, for getting our name out there even more prominently in the tech community, and even in front of consumers on the Pike.”
The deal, first reported by the Globe in October, was formally signed Wednesday. Developer Samuels & Associates said it hopes to start work next spring and open the building in late 2022.
Along with the CarGurus tower, the project will include a Citizen M hotel on the corner of Mass. Ave. and Newbury Street, a two-level pedestrian plaza, improved bus and bike lanes, and a new entrance to Hynes Convention Center Station on the Green Line. It would all be built on a nearly 2-acre deck that will rise above the Pike on the west side of Mass. Ave. This would be the first such project on a deck above the Pike since Copley Place opened in the early 1980s.
“It’s very, very exciting, great for the city as a whole and for the Back Bay,” said Peter Sougarides, a principal at Samuels. “This lease really helps move the project to getting off the ground.”
But it will not be simple.
Construction on the site, known as Parcel 12, and the long-planned Fenway Center project over the Pike a few blocks to the west — which is also aiming to start next spring — will involve a series of lane closures on the highway while massive decks are built above it. Samuels and Fenway Center developer John Rosenthal say they’re working closely with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation on the plans. A MassDOT spokeswoman said Wednesday those plans are “still being analyzed.”
When the work is done, though, CarGurus will have a new home. The company plans to consolidate three offices in East Cambridge into the building, putting all its employees under one roof to improve collaboration, Trevisan said. The company also will get to design its own space, which should help recruit developers and engineers in Boston’s fiercely competitive tech job market.
“One of our best selling points is having potential employees come to our office and see how vibrant it is,” he said. “Now, we’ll definitely be taking our candidates out on the roof deck.”
CarGurus, which connects used-car buyers with dealerships and individual sellers, was started in 2006 by TripAdvisor cofounder Langley Steinert. The company went public two years ago and has since doubled its head count to about 1,000 employees, the “vast majority” of whom work in Cambridge, Trevisan said. It plans to continue expanding here, he said, and hopes the new building will help it do that.
“We’ve grown very quickly, and a lot of how we’ve done that is by being a tech-driven company,” Trevisan said. “Boston is an amazing place for that.”