Church Selects Master Developer for Back Bay Sites
For Immediate Release
Church Selects Master Developer for Back Bay Sites
Cites Carpenter & Company’s Track Record and Team as Key Factors
Boston – January 23, 2013 – The First Church of Christ, Scientist, announced today that it has selected Carpenter & Company, Inc. as the master developer for two development sites adjacent to the 14.8-acre Christian Science Plaza in Boston’s Back Bay. The parcels are part of the master plan designed to revitalize the Plaza and enliven its open space, which was approved by the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) after a comprehensive review process characterized by extensive public input.
The development sites are on Belvidere and Dalton Streets across the street from the Hilton and Sheraton Hotels. One parcel has BRA Master Plan approval for an approximately 250 foot tall building and the other for an approximately 500 foot tall building. Planned uses for the new buildings are a hotel, condominiums and rental apartments, along with ground floor restaurants and retail. The project is expected to generate hundreds of new construction jobs as well as hundreds of permanent jobs once built.
The selection is the next step in implementing the Church’s Plaza plans that were developed over a five-year period in collaboration with the BRA, which convened more than twenty public meetings of the Citizens Advisory Committee appointed by Mayor Thomas M. Menino. “The Christian Science Plaza has always served as a beautiful outdoor destination for our city and its residents,” Mayor Menino said. “I am very pleased that the development of these buildings will allow the Plaza itself to be maintained for the enjoyment of Boston residents and visitors for many years to come.”
“Our firm has the good fortune of being able to only compete for projects that we believe to be remarkable, with an opportunity to be innovative,” commented Richard L. Friedman, President and CEO of Carpenter. “This site absolutely captivated us. It is a gem without peer – a development site in the illustrious Back Bay that is set within a beautifully master planned iconic site. We could not be more thrilled to work with the Church on this site and to bring to bear the vision that our team has developed.”
“We were happy with the selection process, which was extraordinarily competitive and included best-in-class developers nationally,” said Barbara Burley, Senior Manager, Real Estate Planning and Operations for the Church. “Carpenter was the ideal choice for this property for two reasons: their portfolio of properties encompasses unique beautifully designed buildings that are sensitive to the urban environment around them; and they assembled a first-class team with successful experience working together. This is another significant step in fulfilling our vision of a revitalized Plaza, including increasing real estate revenues to more fully match real estate expenses so that a greater proportion of the Church’s resources go toward its healing mission. “
“This is great news,” said Meg Mainzer-Cohen, President & Executive Director of the Back Bay Association and a member of the Citizens Advisory Committee for the Plaza. “The development on the Belvidere/Dalton Sites will bring significant new vitality and improvements to the area. We look forward to continuing the collaborative positive public review process in this next phase of the Plaza Revitalization plans.”
Carpenter has engaged New York based Pei Cobb Freed & Partners and Cambridge Seven Associates as collaborating architects for the project. Pei Cobb Freed was responsible for the initial design of the widely-acclaimed Christian Science Plaza. Henry Cobb, who will lead Pei Cobb’s efforts on the project, also designed a number of notable buildings in Boston, including the nearby John Hancock Tower, which won the American Institute of Architect’s prestigious Twenty-Five Year Award. He will bring a design sensitivity to assure that the new buildings integrate harmoniously with both the Plaza and the surrounding neighborhoods.
“The architecture of every city bears witness to an ongoing dialogue between new buildings embodying the originality of the present and treasured works inherited from the past,” commented Henry Cobb of Pei Cobb Freed & Partners, “In no American city is this dialogue more vividly evidenced than in Boston’s Back Bay, as strikingly exemplified by the John Hancock Tower in its dialogue with Trinity Church and the Christian Science Center in its dialogue with The Mother Church. Our firm, which was honored to be entrusted with the design of those major 20th-century building projects, now welcomes the opportunity to participate in envisioning this important 21st-century addition to the architecture of the Back Bay.”
Carpenter will be responsible for the design, financing, construction and maintenance of the new buildings. The Church will collaborate with Carpenter during the public review process. After necessary approvals are obtained, Carpenter will take full ownership of the building sites. Timetables for next steps are not yet set.
The competitive process leading to the selection of Carpenter was facilitated by an HFF team led by Coleman Benedict.
About Carpenter & Company
Carpenter & Company is a Boston-based developer that is responsible for a number of high-end hotels and residential projects, including the St. Regis San Francisco Hotel and Residences, Boston’s Liberty Hotel, and the Charles Hotel and Residences adjacent to Harvard University.
About the Christian Science Plaza
The Christian Science Plaza has been an integral segment of Back Bay’s landscape for over 130 years and serves as a favorite destination for thousands of visitors, neighbors, and tourists with its Children’s Fountain, Reflecting Pool, and lawn. The 14.8-acre Plaza has seven buildings and about ten acres of open space – the largest privately-owned urban open space in Boston that is accessible to the public. The Church’s Plaza Revitalization Project was designed with the goals of enhancing the Plaza’s open space, improving its environmental sustainability, and addressing its underutilized real estate. A Planned Development Area Master Plan (PDA Master Plan) for the Christian Science Plaza was approved by the BRA and the Boston Zoning Commission in 2011. The PDA Master Plan allows the build-out of up to 952,000 square feet of gross floor area in three new buildings on perimeter Plaza locations: two buildings (a Mid-Rise and High-Rise) on the Belvidere/Dalton Sites and a third building along Huntington Avenue (which has not yet been marketed), as well as a small retail pavilion on the corner of Huntington and Belvidere. The majority of the Plaza has been landmarked by the Boston Landmarks Commission, but the Sites on Belvidere and Dalton Streets are not located within the landmarked area.