By Dan Murphy
Citizens got a look at the preliminary proposal for the $1 billion transformation of the MBTA’s Back Bay station and surrounding city block at a meeting sponsored by the Neighborhood Association of the Back Bay on Wednesday, June 15.
Melissa Shrock, architect and senior project manager for Boston Properties, outlined plans to transform the T station and existing 100 Clarendon St. parking garage, along with the entire block bound by Dartmouth, Stuart, Clarendon streets and Columbus Avenue, as well as four air-rights parcels, into a sprawling 1.26 million square-foot, mixed-use complex. The new development includes three new towers, including a 26-story office tower with retail on the ground level at Dartmouth and Stuart streets. As part of the plan, a second floor would be added to the T station and the Boston Concourse would also be restored and improved.
The proposed renovation would include a complete overhaul of the station’s exterior, which accommodates 30,000 users each day and Shrock described as the “front door into Boston.” More centrally located entryways will also be constructed to improve circulation inside the station’s central hall, along with new waiting and seating areas to take advantage of the “civic space” inside, she said.
Boston Properties has also committed $5 million towards ventilation improvements in the station, which the MBTA has agreed to match, Shrock said.
As for the station’s restrooms, Shrock said pending permitting, Boston Properties hopes to get underway with a thorough renovation later this year.
Meanwhile, Shrock said Boston Properties is currently preparing the wind-study for the project, and she believes the public will be “pleasantly surprised” with the results.
“We try to plan buildings in such a way that they don’t create negative conditions,” Shrock said. “In fact, some preliminary studies suggest that the wind conditions would actually be improved at the ground level where the buildings would be located.
Shrock added that the windy-study takes into account the potential impacts of other proposed development in the area, including the 31-story high-rise planned for 40 Trinity Place, John Hancock’s office tower slated for 380 Stuart St. and the planned 52-story residential tower adjacent to Neiman-Marcus at Copley Place.