Prudential Tower Observatory Closure & Renovation | 800 Boylston St | Back Bay

Equilibria

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Not sure what to name this, so I'll use a non-provocative title.


Boston Properties has killed Top of the Hub and is redeveloping a new observatory itself...
 

Lrfox

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Not sure what to name this, so I'll use a non-provocative title.


Boston Properties has killed Top of the Hub and is redeveloping a new observatory itself...
We'll see what they come up with. I'm a little sad to see Top of the Hub go, but I definitely think there was a lot of room for improvement at the observatory. Most of the observatories I've been to have more interactive features like "The Ledge" at Sears/Willis Tower, and outdoor deck (Top of the Rock, Empire State), interactive tech (WTC), etc. The Prudential seems dated on that front. I'd actually love to see them install something similar to "The Ledge" and I imagine it has to be doable. As far as the restaurant goes, I would hope they redesign it to be more bar/cafe/lounge focused. I'd imagine the shift away from full-service, high end dining would free up space otherwise needed for the kitchen/prep areas. having tables and bar space dedicated more towards beverage and snack service would allow the space to be usable from open-close (serve coffee/pastries in the AM, booze/snacks in the PM). And in addition to alcohol offering higher profit margins than food, turnover for a place that specializes in drinks is higher which means you can move a lot more people in/out than you can in a full service restaurant where people will linger for hours.
 

DZH22

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I went to the observatory a couple of months ago and loved it. It's a bit expensive but you can spend all day up there if you want to. There are a number of exhibits too, but obviously the main attraction is the view. If anything, I think the worst part of the experience was the clunky location of the bathrooms. You had to exit the observatory area in order to use it.

I would hate to see something like "The Ledge" built here, because of the way it would alter the outward appearance of the tower. (not to mention, terrifying) There's no good reason to add a weird bulge here. I'm also worried that they are going to make it even more expensive, because let's face it $21 bucks is kind of a lot unless you love this stuff and have plenty of time to stick around.

Hopefully there won't be too big of a gap between closing the observatory and reopening it. We already (unlawfully) lost the Hancock's observatory after 9/11 and this is by far the best one left in the city.
 

Equilibria

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I went to the observatory a couple of months ago and loved it. It's a bit expensive but you can spend all day up there if you want to. There are a number of exhibits too, but obviously the main attraction is the view. If anything, I think the worst part of the experience was the clunky location of the bathrooms. You had to exit the observatory area in order to use it.

I would hate to see something like "The Ledge" built here, because of the way it would alter the outward appearance of the tower. (not to mention, terrifying) There's no good reason to add a weird bulge here. I'm also worried that they are going to make it even more expensive, because let's face it $21 bucks is kind of a lot unless you love this stuff and have plenty of time to stick around.

Hopefully there won't be too big of a gap between closing the observatory and reopening it. We already (unlawfully) lost the Hancock's observatory after 9/11 and this is by far the best one left in the city.
I think the ledge has a bigger impact on the look of the Sears Tower than a similar element would have here. The Pru has a much busier facade.

I also don't hate the Ledge from the outside. It looks like what it is, which is actually kind of cool.

Now if you want to talk about an observation deck ruining a tower...

 

Lrfox

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I went to the observatory a couple of months ago and loved it. It's a bit expensive but you can spend all day up there if you want to. There are a number of exhibits too, but obviously the main attraction is the view. If anything, I think the worst part of the experience was the clunky location of the bathrooms. You had to exit the observatory area in order to use it.

I would hate to see something like "The Ledge" built here, because of the way it would alter the outward appearance of the tower. (not to mention, terrifying) There's no good reason to add a weird bulge here. I'm also worried that they are going to make it even more expensive, because let's face it $21 bucks is kind of a lot unless you love this stuff and have plenty of time to stick around.

Hopefully there won't be too big of a gap between closing the observatory and reopening it. We already (unlawfully) lost the Hancock's observatory after 9/11 and this is by far the best one left in the city.
I do think it was overpriced for what it was. I am there for the view and lukewarm on stuff like The Ledge (I agree with Equilbria though that it wouldn't impact the appearance of the tower much), but for the people who don't spend their times on skyscraper page and city data like we do, that's what they remember about these observatories. And apart from not being nearly as tall as many of the observatories around the country/world, the Pru also doesn't offer the same features (or gimmicks if you don't like them), and is still a relatively pricey experience. So I can see why they think they need to improve it. I actually used to just try to go between the lunch/dinner rush and have a beer or chowder at Top of the Hub. It was cheaper than the Observatory, I had some food/drink, and the view was still incredible. So it's been a while since i paid to do the Skywalk.

I do hope they're quick about fixing it too.

*Edit* that Aon Center elevator.... woof.
 

odurandina

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Too much of the Pru observatory's 360° views are blocked by the Hancock.
However, the perspective you get of 1 Dalton is cool.
The Hancock is better suited for spying on my favorite things:
The scale of humans and their things against the backdrop of Downtown as it slowly departs the Dark Ages.
 

datadyne007

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Hopefully what they are doing is moving the SkyWalk to Level 52, which is double height. RIP to (Stouffer's) Top of the Hub. They're probably converting Level 50 to leasable space.
 

vanshnookenraggen

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I still say that the Hancock had the better observation deck. The Pru's seemed dated as hell. Though, to be fair, I haven't been up there in maybe 20 years.
 

datadyne007

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I still say that the Hancock had the better observation deck. The Pru's seemed dated as hell. Though, to be fair, I haven't been up there in maybe 20 years.
Correct on the Hancock - it was way better. Pru's has barely changed in 20 years. Low ceilings, dated exhibits.

I'm pretty excited about what they could do with the space on Level 52. Get rid of the drop ceilings, expose all the MEPs, give full-height view out of the double-height windows. I think it could be a neat modern observatory.
 

odurandina

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^^Down the road: Penthouse Condo Villa's $10M a pop?
i say why not convert the whole smash: while not massed for condo's, the top 20~25 floors of the Pru or Hancock might do surprisingly well if they could be redone as large wide-open luxury homes, timed well in a future market. Imagine if you could sell a high % of the towers' current worth--and still have the bottom ~30-35 office floors available for lease!
 
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bbfen

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^^Down the road: Penthouse Condo Villa's $10M a pop?
i say why not convert the whole smash: while not massed for condo's, the top 20~25 floors of the Pru or Hancock might do surprisingly well if they could be redone as large wide-open luxury homes, timed well in a future market. Imagine if you could sell a high % of the towers' current worth--and still have the bottom ~30-35 office floors available for lease!
I’d love to attend that ZBA meeting.
 

Equilibria

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Correct on the Hancock - it was way better. Pru's has barely changed in 20 years. Low ceilings, dated exhibits.

I'm pretty excited about what they could do with the space on Level 52. Get rid of the drop ceilings, expose all the MEPs, give full-height view out of the double-height windows. I think it could be a neat modern observatory.
Specifically, I'd love an AR display (or maybe just something taped to the window) that shows the view from that height toward the Shawmut in 1600. The more photorealistic the better. It would be even better if they could do it with glasses and let you look in all directions in different eras.
 

MjolnirMan

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Hopefully there won't be too big of a gap between closing the observatory and reopening it. We already (unlawfully) lost the Hancock's observatory after 9/11 and this is by far the best one left in the city.
Is there any chance at all of that making a return? I know the owners don't want to and have gutted the space, but back in 2014 Marty Walsh said "This is the first time it's been brought to my attention, and I'll look into it."

I'd also love for there to be fewer restrictions on visiting the Custom House Tower as well.
 

kmp1284

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Is Boston Properties legally mandated to maintain an observatory as was allegedly the case at the Hancock? It would have been so much better in my opinion to see a reimagined restaurant/bar space that could serve as an attraction for both residents and visitors instead of something that caters almost exclusively to tourists.
 

whighlander

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Fixing the Pru or at least its Topfrom today's BBJ
Here’s how much Boston Properties will invest to redo Top of the Hub

The Prudential Tower in Boston
Enlarge

The Prudential Tower in Boston
GARY HIGGINS

https://www.bizjournals.com/profile/company/org_ch_290896edb1a880a1347911098712a14e?iana=comcard_seefull


By Catherine Carlock – Real Estate Editor, Boston Business Journal
57 minutes ago

Boston Properties intends to invest “in excess of $125 million” to renovate the top three floors of the Prudential Tower in the city’s Back Bay neighborhood, which for decades has been home to the iconic Top of the Hub restaurant and Skywalk Observatory, CEO Owen Thomas announced on the real estate investment trust’s fourth-quarter earnings call Wednesday morning.

Boston Properties (NYSE: BXP) is aiming for the renovation of floors 50-52 to create “an extraordinary experience for local area residents and visitors to Boston,” Thomas said. “We hope to to open this public facility in mid-2022.”
Time to have someplace to discuss this

$125 M is a fair size building -- this one just happens to be 50 floors up
 

DZH22

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I actually plan on going back to the Skywalk (not Top of the Hub) this weekend and recommend everybody goes before it closes. You can stay as long as you want and examine the full 360 degree view at your leisure. The price of $21 (less for students/children/seniors) isn't superb, but if you love this stuff you can stay up there for at least a couple of hours. It's easily the best place to see the full extent of Boston's ongoing construction boom. I recommend arriving by noon so the sun doesn't blind you on the 1 Dalton/Fenway/Western sides. The downtown view does look better in the PM's, which is why noon is a good starting time.

Since we have no idea what exactly they will be replacing this with, see it soon while you still know what you are getting. The view is 100% worth the money.
 

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