Skanska USA Commercial Development Inc. this week filed plans with the BPDA to actually put up the 26-story tower at 380 Stuart St., across from the original and now Old Hancock Tower, that John Hancock won approval to build in 2015 and then didn't.
Skanska bought 380 Stuart from the insurance company for $177 million in December and told the BPDA it wants to basically put up the same glass building, modified for this post-pandemic world we're now in, but not modified enough, the company says, to require the sort of major, time-consuming review process the BPDA might otherwise require for an all new building to replace the two shorter buildings that now sit there.
Skanska’s primary proposed changes are improvements driven by the prioritization of occupant wellness with access to outdoor space in a post-COVID-19 world. Additional proposed changes are intended to increase the public realm porosity, generate activation at the ground level, and create a more sustainable building.
Skanska says the building will still have the roughly 625,000 square feet of office and retail/restaurant space and a fitness center that John Hancock proposed back in the day, along with the four-level, 175-space underground garage that was in the plans approved by the BPDA in 2015 - along with the "planned development agreement" the two sides agreed to, letting them toss the site's zoning and negotiate on the specific project.
The revised form emphasizes the importance of creating an office building which looks beyond its immediate enclosure and begins to engage its neighborhood as well as the greater context of the city with the users of the building and highlighting the importance of a physical connection.The resulting building, with the cascading outdoor terraces, is an elegant contribution to the skyline that does not seek to overwhelm its neighboring context. The newly designed roof outline tapers and rolls as a counterpoint to the hard horizontal roof lines of its neighbors. The thoughtful undulation dips its hat to the treasured Boston Common and Boston Public Garden as the low point of the roof outline orients itself towards those city amenities
As the building dips its hat to the treasured nearby parks, it will cast no shadow on them, Skanska says.
One change: The ground floor will now feature a giant, continuous glass wall that Skanska says will blur the distinction between interior and exterior rather than being foreboding and unwelcoming:
The expanse of the glass wall from east to west occupies nearly the breadth of the Site with the exception of where the wall inflects to reveal the through-block connections and pedestrian zones on both the east and west sides. The main entry will be clearly defined by a framed portal that is capped by an extended canopy which leads pedestrians to the entry and beyond. The canopy will also help mitigate pedestrian level wind impacts and create a sheltered zone along the west side. There is a clearly defined single lane parking entry neatly integrated into the overall reading of the expansive façade. The use of light and transparent glass on the façade will blend the boundaries between the indoor and outdoor environments and invite pedestrians into the building lobby rather than the more traditional office building approach of treating the lobby wall as a security barrier.
380 Stuart St. filings and calendar.