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Construction moves along near Hynes Convention Center on skyscraper project over Mass Pike

Parcel 12 hynes
Construction site on Parcel 12 near Hynes Convention Center. In Boston’s Back Bay, the two new buildings will be complete in 2023 with office, retail and hotel spaces. SEAN YOUNG/DFP STAFF

Construction near Hynes Convention Center — known as Parcel 12 — will result in two buildings with new office, retail and hotel space in Boston’s Back Bay and will be completed in summer 2023.

Commercial real estate developers Samuels & Associates have been in the process of completing the $700 million dollar air-right project since May 2018. 

The plans for the site, according to the Boston Planning & Development Agency’s website, include “325,000 square feet of office uses, 70,000 square feet of retail and restaurant uses, and 150,000 square feet of residential or hotel uses.”

The site is being built directly above the Massachusetts Turnpike, on an empty street section where Boylston Street intersects Massachusetts Avenue. 

Samuels & Associates wrote in an email statement that “what was once a scar in the city is now a gateway between the Fenway and the Back Bay, providing active streetscapes with vibrant retail and restaurants.” 

Meg Mainzer-Cohen, president and executive director of the Back Bay Association, said Parcel 12, whose surroundings have only been “open air for exhaust fumes,” could potentially leave those passing through the neighborhood with a new, more positive impression of Back Bay.

“Between (the two buildings) is a public space that will be a park space, a nice overlook. I’m told from that Mass. Ave. you get a great view of the sunset over Fenway Park,” said Elliott Laffer, chair of the Neighborhood Association of the Back Bay.

In addition to providing an aesthetic upgrade to Back Bay, Parcel 12 will conform with city sustainability measures. Newer Boston developments will have to adhere to the Building Emissions Reduction and Disclosure Ordinance, or BERDO, which requires large buildings in the city to comply with limits on their energy usage in an effort to reach carbon neutrality by 2050. 

“The office building is one of the first in Boston to be 100% electric which allows for fully renewable energy as the grid gets there,” Laffer said.

Mainzer-Cohen said Parcel 12 will set the standard for future construction developments under BERDO requirements.

“It sets an important high bar for all future development that a project of this size can incorporate systems that are fully electric,” said Mainzer-Cohen. “It is part of what the entire city of Boston, every building, both existing and future development, is going to have to focus on.”

There are similar parcel projects at different stages of development, but it’s Parcel 12 that is “the one that has so far made it across the finish line to get built” according to Laffer. 

Laffer said he hadn’t heard any complaints about the construction but that it “doesn’t mean that there aren’t any.”

The Back Bay Association has received zero complaints about the construction at Parcel 12 Mainzer-Cohen said.

Laffer also noted the economic potential of the project for businesses.

“The perception is that if you have more people working there, that should bring business,” Laffer said. “That’s one of the reasons why folks like to see buildings built.”

Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly attributed Samuels & Associates’s statement to their PR firm, Denterlein. The article has been edited to reflect this change.


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