The design team unveiled drastically reconfigured plans for a mixed-use complex proposed for Massachusetts Transportation Department (MassDOT) air-rights Parcel 12, including a public plaza, during a Citizens Advisory Committee meeting on the project Tuesday at St. Cecilia’s Parish.
“The architecture needs to be spectacular because the visibility of this piece of real estate from all four directions is critical,” Steve Samuels, chairman and principal of the Boston-based development firm Samuels & Associates, said of the site located at the intersection of Massachusetts Avenue and Boylston and Newbury streets in the Back Bay.
The project would consist of a 292-foot office building and a 154-foot hotel or residential building, with up to 150 on-site parking spaces. As opposed to the earlier design, the center of the building massing has been removed to accommodate new public space while the office building has been raised by the four stories, or 55 feet, to account for the decrease in square footage.
David Manfredi, CEO and founding principal of Boston’s Elkus Manfredi Architects, said the new deign would create 16,500 of civic space on the first floor, and a staircase would ascend 20 feet from there to a 12,500 public park, which would create “kind of a viewing platform” on the edge of Massachusetts Avenue.
The design of the hotel or residential building would be made more curved to create a narrower profile when viewed from Newbury Street while both buildings would come down to the ground as opposed to the earlier design, Manfredi said.
David Bohn, transportation consultant, said the crosswalk at Massachusetts Avenue would be scaled back from 70 feet to 30 feet to create more room for addition uses.
On the Massachusetts Avenue side, Bohn said a one-way, 6-foot cycle track would head towards Boylston Street while the proposed vehicle pick-up and drop-off areas and the bus stop be switched to allow more room for buses.
On the Boylston Street side, Bohn said a cycle track or bike lane would be created while a police officer would be posted on detail to direct traffic in the area.
The revised project was met enthusiastically by both CAC members and citizens in attendance at the meeting.
“I haven’t seen anything as transformative in this neighborhood ever,” CAC member Meg Mainzer-Cohen said. “I think this is a really magnificent addition.”