With the news last week that Boston Properties is floating a plan for a new Back Bay skyscraper as high as 50 floors, we decided to take a look back at an idea last decade to build many, many times higher than that.
The idea belonged to Steve Belkin, a credit-card kingpin with little development experience who was the lone bidder in November 2006 for the city-owned parcel at 115 Federal Street in the Financial District (he already owned an adjacent parcel at 133 Federal). He pitched a 1,000-foot tower that would easily have been New England's tallest; and he even enlisted renowned architect Renzo Piano to design it (above is a rendering of the would-be Piano tower against the Boston skyline). The size of the tower swelled to around 1.7 million square feet and as high as 80 floors (20 more than the Hancock), though there were plans, too, for slightly smaller versions.
In the end, no versions took. A combination of the Great Recession and FAA skittishness over the tower's height vis-a-vis Logan Airport (plus Piano's exit from the project) doomed the idea, even though it had formidable City Hall support. Belkin, however, has recently reached out to the powers that be about giving it another go on Federal Street, though a 1,000-footer seems a tall order still.
· Office High-Rise Would Join List of Boston's Tallest [Globe]
· Belkin's Super Tower Behind Schedule [Biz Journal]
· Boston's Tallest Tower, Take Two [Curbed Boston]
· Just How High Can Developers Get in Boston? [Curbed Boston]