Largest Rolex boutique in the US to open on Newbury Street

The largest Rolex boutique in the United States will soon call Newbury Street home. At the Back Bay Architectural Commission (BBAC) hearing in Feb. 12, an architect from Gensler architecture firm presented a proposal for the facade of the building, which will be located at 8 Newbury St.
She said that Rolex is changing how they do their sales, and will open boutiques across the country. The Newbury Street location will be operated by Long’s Jewelers, and will occupy the first and second floor. The floors above will be office space.
The store will have a popout storefront, where the center area will be a show window that includes an interior screening device that doesn’t move. Also proposed was a singular flagpole with the Rolex logo in yellow against a green flag.
On the rear of the building, the architect proposed a specific film on the interior of the windows, as well as a louver in the back that would match all of the framing on the windows. The louver would be for dedicated exhaust related to the watch repair section of the building.
“It is inconsistent with the guidelines for us to approve piercing the brick for the louver,” Commissioner Robert Weintraub said.
Mike Jammen of UrbanMeritage, the landlord of this building, said that “we spent the last five years painfully restoring this building. In the front, we enhanced the facade with custom copper.”
He said that having Rolex on Newbury Steet is really special. “I cannot say how much this means to Newbury Street and for Boston as a retail center,” he added. “They’re not consistent with the guidelines, but they’re guidelines and exceptions should be made.”
Joe Cornish, Director of Design Review for the Boston Landmarks Commission, said that the commercial guidelines “do allow for more flexibility” than the residential ones do.
“I just want to implore you to give this significant retailer the visibility and signage they need to succeed,” Back Bay Association president Meg Mainzer-Cohen said to the Commission. She cited the current issue with signage on the street and how some retailers are going elsewhere because they do not receive the visibility they need to succeed. The BBAC is also currently in the process of updating its commercial signage guidelines in part because of this issue.
“I think it’s beautifully done,” said Commissioner John Christiansen. The Commission voted to approve the proposal as presented but they did not think the side signs proposed were necessary because of the flag and the sign on the front.

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