“We are all excited about the opportunity to bring a well-designed hotel and residential concept to this site that will be an asset to the Back Bay neighborhood,’’ the joint venture, known as Trinity Stuart LLC, said in its statement.
Once a proposal is filed with the city, the project will undergo a lengthy review process during which neighbors will have an opportunity to comment and suggest changes.
Trinity Stuart purchased the property in December from John Hancock Life Insurance Co. for $22.6 million. The site includes the eight-story John Hancock Hotel & Conference Center, which is next to the University Club and across from the 60-story Hancock Tower. The building has since been renamed the Boston Common Hotel & Conference Center. It is unclear whether Trinity Stuart will seek to demolish the building or incorporate it into its new complex....City and state planners in recent years have sought to encourage development of large-scale buildings in the Back Bay, at times clashing with neighborhood groups about increases in traffic and the impact on public parks, among other issues.
A neighborhood panel recently flagged the property acquired by Trinity Stuart as a site that could host a significant redevelopment. The panel of residents and business leaders found that the parcel could accommodate a building of up to 400 feet, or between 30 and 40 stories, which is significantly taller than the 125 feet allowed under existing zoning.
To qualify for the additional height, the developers must show that the project will not increase wind in the area or cast shadows on surrounding parks or historic structures, according to guidelines established by the panel. They also must commit to funding neighborhood improvements, such as adding public art or paying for upgrades to nearby open spaces.
The panel’s guidelines have not been formally adopted by the city but are likely to be used to assess development proposals in the neighborhood. The guidelines say that new buildings should help create a “varied skyline’’ in the Back Bay and increase vibrancy along the street, which has pockets that are dark and desolate.
The Trinity Stuart partners have significant development experience in the area. Warshaw previously worked with developer Ron Druker on the construction of the mixed-use Atelier|505 project in the South End, and the Saunders Hotel Group developed the Back Bay Hotel at the former Boston Police Headquarters. The company also owns and operates the Lenox Hotel.