Simon Property Group, perhaps best known nationally as a mega-mall landlord, wants to build a 47-story apartment or condo (it's not sure which yet) tower on Copley Place, across from the Back Bay T station. It would be the biggest new building in Boston in decades, a monster of an exclamation point for a changing area of the city.
Plans are afoot for a grand new entrance for the Southwest Corridor Park that runs 4.7 miles from Dartmouth Street in Back Bay to Mass Ave. in Jamaica Plain. Right now, as The Globe's Casey Ross explains, you would miss the relatively mammoth park if you weren't looking for it: "It presents itself along Dartmouth Street like an alley between commercial buildings, offering little indication of what lies just a few feet away."
Not anymore! Maybe! "... Simon Property Group and area residents are discussing construction of a striking glass gateway or public art display that would boldly announce the park's entrance." And! Simon is "proposing to improve the chaotic pedestrian crossings in the area and build a glass-encased 'winter garden' at the corner of Dartmouth and Stuart streets with retail kiosks, seating areas, and space for music performances and other events."
The plans are all part of Simon's strategy for wooing the city and area residents concerned about the scope of the new tower. Some residents are stoked about changes that could spiff up a dormant stretch of Back Bay near the Prudential Center. Others, not so much, saying the "winter garden" looks like something better suited to L.A. or Houston. This is New England! If Simon does get the go-head (a vote is expected later this fall by the Boston Redevelopment Authority) it appears they will get a grand addendum to their 318-unit creation: "The winter garden would transition into an expanded Neiman Marcus store and Copley Place’s main retail galleries, which would become the base for Simon’s multitiered residential tower."
Changing the Landscape [Globe]
Copley Place Retail Expansion and Residential Addition Project [Boston Redevelopment Authority]