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South Station Tower About to Take a Big Step Forward

Long-stalled plan up for key vote

Plans to plunk a giant tower atop South Station stretch back to the early 1990s and, for a variety of reasons, have stood as stationary as a Red Line at rush hour since the middle '00s. Now it looks like the plan could move forward in a big way today.

Recall that Houston-based developer Hines wants to erect a 677-foot tower with two squatter buildings on and around New England's busiest train station. Current plans call for the complex to include up to 195,000 square feet of residential space; a 200-room hotel; and a 755-space parking garage. The main tower would instantly become one of the 10 tallest in Boston and join a veritable forest of new spires.

Hines now has the financial backing of a Chinese development firm, and, come this evening, could have the blessing of the Boston Redevelopment Authority for a new entity that Hines would control. According to Steve Adams at Banker & Tradesman, the BRA board is expected to assign development rights for the South Station project to an LLC comprised of Hines and that Chinese backer.

Now! Such a vote would not mean that the current plans are a go. Hines has already hinted that things could change. For now, though, it looks like a big step forward is imminent for an idea that predates the World Wide Web.