Since 2014, a massive development project has been in the works near the Hynes Convention Center in Bostons Back Bay neighborhood. The mixed-use development is one of several projects around Boston to be constructed above a portion of the Massachusetts Turnpike that runs through the city.
In recent years, developers have been purchasing the air rights over different portions of the turnpike from the State of Massachusetts. Because of the way that the Pike was built, it runs directly through the middle of the city, leaving a large sunken gap. State officials have divided these gaps into parcels that they have been selling in order completely build over the Mass Pike gap that runs through Boston.
This project is slated for parcel 13, an open gap on the corner of Massachusetts Avenue and Boylston Street. Right on the corner of this busy intersection, an unsightly chain-link fence divides the sidewalks from the large gap overlooking the rumbling pike below. The sound of the traffic below mixed with the traffic of the intersection makes this one of the loudest and most unpleasant spots in all of Boston.
That will all change if the developers of this new project are able to win approval from city officials. Known as the Viola, this mixed-use project calls for a new building to completely cover over the parcel 13 gap. The building would feature and 156-key boutique hotel, 88 condos and 85 apartments for rent. In addition, the ground level would open up 20,000 square-feet of new retail space and would create two large pedestrian plazas.
In addition, developers have agreed to completely renovate the Hynes Convention Center T Station, which has been is a state of disrepair for several years. They would add two brand new entrances in concert with the pedestrian plazas to help accommodate all of the pedestrian traffic in the area.
Many have also commented on the unique design of the building. Images released by the architects show an S-shaped building with a modern exterior and curvy look. This would certainly stand out from much of the more traditional architecture in the Back Bay neighborhood. While some worry that the design could draw resistance from those who live near by, few can argue the benefits of covering up that large gap, expanding sidewalk space and building a new T station.
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Nick Lattarulo for Bostonia Properties