The most recent design is the one on the right
This project involves the gutting of three old wharf buildings and plopping a 24-story tower on top, resulting in a 31-story mixed-use complex. It was originally proposed in 2002, and was to have a 300-room hotel component, which has since been axed. The architects are Childs Bertman Tseckares, a.k.a. CBT
An excerpt from a 6/26/06 article - please note that the residential component is now in question (might instead be office space), and EOP no longer owns the property, which is discussed below:
Background: - owners and the market
Under the current plan, EOP will restore the Russia building at 530 Atlantic Avenue and “is restoring significant historical elements of the other two buildings, Graphic Arts and Tufts,” which are at 270 and 286 Congress, respectively, the spokeswoman says. These three will be converted into 200 housing units and 31,000 sf of retail, civic and restaurant space. Above them, Equity will build a new 31-story office building with an aggregate of 500,000 sf. There will also be outdoor public areas, including one-third acre of open space.
The historic, seven-story buildings now aggregate 313,000 sf. They were built in 1899, renovated in 1980 and are currently leased to office tenants. In 2002, when GlobeSt.com initially reported on this plan, the cost was estimated at $275 million, and it rose to $300 million last July. An updated estimate of the final plan is not yet available from Equity.
Originally Equity Office Properties (EOP), Boston's then-largest landlord, owned the buildings and was going to build the tower, but as you all probably remember they were bought out by private equity giant the Blackstone Group in February 2007. Blackstone then promptly sold this off, to which Boston Properties (Boston's second largest landlord) won with a $105.4 million bid in early March.
Currently, Boston's office market is completely run by the landlords, as vacancy rates have plummeted (they currently stand at 9.5%) and no new space will be coming on line for at least two years.Things were last like this back in the late '90s and early '00s (vacancy in June 2001 was at a miniscule 2%!!), but it went through a significant slump between '03 and '05. By December '03 vacancy was at 17.4%, even worse than in 1991, when the market bottomed out at 16.2%. This slump came down hard on the owners of 33 Arch, which was the last tower from that boom cycle to be completed (early '04), and opened with no tenants except for the company who built the tower..!
I mention all of this because there exists today a strong belief that the first developer to break ground and open will be the one to reap the greatest returns. That was the lesson taught by the last market slump, where it only took 12 months for things to go from great to horrible. This blurb sums up today's zeitgeist:
Developers surveying the market today all want.....to time the market exactly right so their office tower opens when tenants are still desperate for large chunks of Class A space, as they are today. There are at least 3 million square feet of office space in Boston's development pipeline, with the first buildings scheduled to open by 2011
Russia Wharf was the site where merchant ships that sailed between Boston and St. Petersburg once docked. Originally called Gray's Wharf, it was involved with the trade of hemp, iron, and canvas, all used in shipbuilding in the late 18th century.
The construction to the upper left is the Big Dig, and the construction to the right is where the InterContinental Hotel went up, which opened last year:
-- the first one, circa 2002
Second version, circa 2005
Third design, circa 2006
12/16/2006 - taken by ArchBoston forumer xec
3/1/2007 - also by xec
4/4/2007 - these are my shots
, work has slowed, and AB forumer Chitch had this to say about it:
The reason that this portion of the project seemed to be taking so long was the fact that most of the construction of the steel cage had to be done at night because of crane access issues.
As soon as the cage is all welded up and Turner Construction is confident it's solid, then the interior of the buildings will be demolished so they can start excavating for the parking garage. From what I hear, they might go as many as six floors deep.
So as it stands now, I haven't seen any visual progress in a month or two, but it's probably just that the work/demolition isn't visible from the street.