Insight Blog

Real Estate Megaprojects Changing the Boston Skyline

Real Estate Megaprojects Changing the Boston Skyline

If you haven’t been to Boston in a while, prepared to be amazed. The all-American city is in the midst of a long-awaited building boom and teeming with commercial development activity from luxury condominiums to progressive life sciences spaces. With world-renowned academic and healthcare institutions, and prominent venture capital firms, Boston attracts people from around the world and was overdue for these types of developments.

The Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) approved nearly $7B in new development in 2018, and projects are starting to take shape. Believe it or not, the BPDA says there are more than 100 large active construction sites within the city limits. With so much activity and types of projects being built, Boston is certainly upping its game in U.S. commercial real estate development. As executive search consultants who specialize in construction and real estate development, it's always exciting to take a deep dive into our core geographical locations, and Boston is one of them. So, let’s look at the city's iconic projects in the making and the players who are changing its skyline. 

One Dalton

One Dalton Street
Architects: Cambridge Seven Associates and Pei Cobb Freed Partners
Developer: Carpenter & Company
Contractor: Suffolk Construction
Cost: $750M
Not only will One Dalton be the tallest residential tower in the New England region at 61 stories, but it also takes the prize for the most expensive luxury condo sale in Boston at a whopping $40M. The triangular “pencil tower” has rounded corners and has a façade of gray glass for controlling energy and glare. It boasts 180 condominiums from “town residences” to “penthouse duplex estates” and a 215-room Four Seasons Hotel. 

Back Bay / South End Gateway

145 and 165 Dartmouth Street
Architects: Arrowstreet and Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects
Developer: Boston Properties
Cost: $1B
If you have yet to see the renderings of the Back Bay/South End Gateway project, it appears to be a haphazard stack of boxes. As a play to re-energize this urban site, Boston Properties is planning an innovative mixed-use and transit-focused development on top of the Back Bay Station that ties in the surrounding historic neighborhoods of Back Bay, South end, and Bay Village. The plan that includes nearly 62,000 SF of retail space, approximately 600 residential units, and a renovation of the station itself won unanimous approval from the BPDA in 2017.

Bulfinch Crossing

One Congress Street
Architects: One Congress – Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects; Residential tower – CBT Architects
Developers: HYM Investment Group and National Real Estate Advisors
Construction Contractor: AECOM Tishman
Cost: $2B
Expected Completion: 2022
With spectacular views of the Boston Harbor, the Financial District, Back Bay, and the Charles River, Bulfinch Crossing, a 4.8 acre and six-building mixed-use development, will be more than 3M SF of residential units (800), retail space, and a hotel. What’s even more impressive is its LEED-Gold certified office tower and a net-zero-energy public square.

Winthrop Center

115 Winthrop Square
Developer: Millennium Partners
Architects: D/R/E/A/M Collaborative and Handel Architects LLP
Contractor: Suffolk Construction
Expected Completion: Spring 2022
Cost: $1.5B
Located in the Financial District, Winthrop Center's 702-foot, 500 residential unit tower broke ground last October and is set to be the fourth tallest tower in Boston. The development encompasses 1.6M SF of residential, office, and retail and dining space, and has dreams of becoming the next great public space to host art shows, farmers markets, and more. The development plans to achieve LEED Platinum certification and hopes to be the first Passive House accredited building in the area, which could cut carbon emissions by sixty to eighty percent compared to others.

South Station Tower

650 Atlantic Avenue
Architects: Kendall-Heaton Associates and Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects
Developers: Gemdale Properties & Investment and Hines Interests Limited Partnership
Expected Completion: 2020
With an undisclosed cost, South Station entails the completion of the South Station Transportation Center, and the addition of a 51-story, 862,000 SF mixed-use tower of office and retail space, and 166 condominiums. Designed to refract light, the building will look taller and thinner than it really is.


133-135 Seaport Boulevard
Architects: CBT Architects and Kohn Pedersen Fox
Developer: Cottonwood
Contractor: John Moriarty & Associates
Expected Completion: Late 2019/Early 2020
Cost: $950M
With interiors designed by Jeffrey Beers International (this is its inaugural residential project), the 3-tower EchelonSeaport complex is the largest residential development in Boston’s Seaport. It’s slated to be one of the city's most glamorous locations for the elite with more than 700 luxury condominiums with green rooftop spaces, and 125,000 SF of boutique shops and eateries. All of this centers around a “destination piazza” with a landmark bridge, unique artwork, and tree canopy.

Exchange South End

591 Albany Street
Developer: Abbey Group
Architect: Stantec
Cost: $1B
Expected Completion: 2021
On the former site of the Boston Flower Exchange, Exchange South End is on course to be Boston’s next life sciences innovation hub. Tying together Boston Medical Center and Boston University Medical Campus, this 5.6 acre campus will have four buildings totaling 1.6M SF for state-of-the-art offices, labs, and biomedical space. It will undoubtedly attract some interesting players in the life sciences space with more than 10,000 tech, life science, and healthcare professionals in the neighborhood.

Just talking about these makes you want to take a trip to Boston, doesn't it? As if the city didn't have enough to offer already!

If you're involved in Boston's construction and real estate development sector, and have talent needs or simply want to discuss the market, reach out to Jim Lord, Executive Director - Northeast. Jim travels to the city frequently with so many clients in the region, and he'd welcome the opportunity to meet!