Supertalls in Boston?

squidman1

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Isn't the whole reason why we can't build supertall just because of the bedrock depth, or is it something entirely different?
 

Cortes

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Isn't the whole reason why we can't build supertall just because of the bedrock depth, or is it something entirely different?
As much as nobody wants to admit it, the reason there is no super tall is that there is not a market for one, and never really was.

Both the Pru and Hancock were pride projects and can't be repeated. The major commercial banks that built downtown have all been purchased save State Street, which will continue to build out the city, but are busy right now. There is NO market for a super tall in Boston, and there won't be for decades, if ever.
 

bigpicture7

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Isn't the whole reason why we can't build supertall just because of the bedrock depth, or is it something entirely different?
There's no one single reason as simple as that. The 742' One Dalton tower nearby drilled piles nearly 200ft to bedrock. It'll be done if there's a reason to do it.

As much as nobody wants to admit it, the reason there is no super tall is that there is not a market for one, and never really was.

Both the Pru and Hancock were pride projects and can't be repeated. The major commercial banks that built downtown have all been purchased save State Street, which will continue to build out the city, but are busy right now. There is NO market for a super tall in Boston, and there won't be for decades, if ever.
No one can predict the future as well as you're claiming to be able to. I agree it takes a substantial economic force to build a substantial tower, and that the stars don't appear lined up that way right now. Yet, first off, who cares if it's a supertall vs. a really well done 800-footer. Second, we have no idea when the next emergent "big thing" will happen in Boston that could prompt a pride project. Salesforce grew super quickly and built their pride tower. I'm not saying it's likely, but "...there won't be for decades, if ever" is hyperbole. Maybe your hyperbole is due to the "supertall" criterion, in which case it's more reasonable. But I don't find it impossible for a smaller statement tower to land here. These days a statement tower can be mixed use, yet still be branded by the entity that wants it to be their statement.
 
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Cortes

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You are right on nearly all accounts. You are correct in using Salesforce as evidence. I am personally in favor of 2 in Boston. One on the Saks site at the Pru, and the other where Spaulding and the jail are. I am certainly no prognosticator, but I do see the biotech sector flourishing over the next 20 years with some certainty though. With the land use patterns associated with it. Vertex Pharmaceuticals is the perfect example. That was a $1 billion complex, and in a previous life would of translated into a very tall building.
 

squidman1

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I'm personally not sure about the Saks tower idea, I think the Pru is fine the way it is right now. It's a little cramped.
 

whighlander

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As much as nobody wants to admit it, the reason there is no super tall is that there is not a market for one, and never really was.

Both the Pru and Hancock were pride projects and can't be repeated. The major commercial banks that built downtown have all been purchased save State Street, which will continue to build out the city, but are busy right now. There is NO market for a super tall in Boston, and there won't be for decades, if ever.
Cortes -- The single tenant occupying a very large office building with their name on the top -- is an anachronism

Consider that to be a super tall -- implies about 100 floors [80+ at least]
To be a viable -- an office building [as opposed to a lab/office or pure lab] these days [pre-Pandemic] you need a fair sized floor plate
ignoring the core that is probably at least 8,000 sq ft [[100 x 80) + core] so probably about 10,000 gross sq ft per floor
Recently [Pre-Pandemic] many firms [e.g. Wayfair, Amazon, Fidelity] want even bigger floor plates approaching a half acre or more​
So for a building of at least 80 floors -- you end up with 800 k gross sq ft or more -- that probably means at least a dozen major commercial tenants -- with may be the biggest one taking 1/3 to 1/2 of the building [Pre-Pandemic]

The new State Street Tower will be a good test case for the kind of space that big office space users are looking to have -- Post-Pandemic
State Street is still planning for 510 k sq ft out of the approx. 1 M sq ft in the new tower
 

Cortes

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Cortes -- The single tenant occupying a very large office building with their name on the top -- is an anachronism

Consider that to be a super tall -- implies about 100 floors [80+ at least]
To be a viable -- an office building [as opposed to a lab/office or pure lab] these days [pre-Pandemic] you need a fair sized floor plate
ignoring the core that is probably at least 8,000 sq ft [[100 x 80) + core] so probably about 10,000 gross sq ft per floor
Recently [Pre-Pandemic] many firms [e.g. Wayfair, Amazon, Fidelity] want even bigger floor plates approaching a half acre or more​
So for a building of at least 80 floors -- you end up with 800 k gross sq ft or more -- that probably means at least a dozen major commercial tenants -- with may be the biggest one taking 1/3 to 1/2 of the building [Pre-Pandemic]

The new State Street Tower will be a good test case for the kind of space that big office space users are looking to have -- Post-Pandemic
State Street is still planning for 510 k sq ft out of the approx. 1 M sq ft in the new tower
We have 2 other buildings under construction that fit that model. Include aquarium and that's 4 by 2030. Add Dalton/boylston and 5. I do not see any model save a "salesforce" situation that would include a supertall in Boston before 2040. I'll hedge my bet by saying "top out"
 

meddlepal

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I'm not a skyscraper junkie, but I would love to see a well done 800 or 900 ft tower in Boston. Don't care about it being super-tall. Whether this is a good site for that kind of development is... debatable. I still feel like the best site for one of those is Dalton Street Garage, but that's for a different conversation.
 

whighlander

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We have 2 other buildings under construction that fit that model. Include aquarium and that's 4 by 2030. Add Dalton/boylston and 5. I do not see any model save a "salesforce" situation that would include a supertall in Boston before 2040. I'll hedge my bet by saying "top out"
Cortes -- a lot can happen in 20 years
for example many [35 - 40%] of the companies on the S&P 500 in 2000 are no longer stand-alone corporate entities -- they either folded or were acquired
However -- the 100 to 200 entities have been replaced by entities many of which if they existed in 2000 at all were far to small to be part of the S&P 500

for example -- Wayfair:
from their website
  1. 2002, Steve Conine and Niraj Shah founded Wayfair on a shoestring budget in a spare bedroom of Steve's house.
  2. 2011, Steve and Niraj took a giant leap and moved all of their e-commerce sites into one mega destination for the home and named it Wayfair. By the next year, Wayfair had exceeded $600 million in annual revenue
  3. 2020 -- Wayfair generated $13 billion in net revenue for the twelve months ended September 30, 2020. Wayfair offers over 18 million products across five distinct brands - Wayfair.com, AllModern, Birch Lane, Joss & Main and Perigold. The company employed more than 16,700 people as of September 30, 2020 and is headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts with operations throughout North America and Europe.
 

George_Apley

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Cortes -- a lot can happen in 20 years
for example many [35 - 40%] of the companies on the S&P 500 in 2000 are no longer stand-alone corporate entities -- they either folded or were acquired
However -- the 100 to 200 entities have been replaced by entities many of which if they existed in 2000 at all were far to small to be part of the S&P 500

for example -- Wayfair:
from their website
  1. 2002, Steve Conine and Niraj Shah founded Wayfair on a shoestring budget in a spare bedroom of Steve's house.
  2. 2011, Steve and Niraj took a giant leap and moved all of their e-commerce sites into one mega destination for the home and named it Wayfair. By the next year, Wayfair had exceeded $600 million in annual revenue
  3. 2020 -- Wayfair generated $13 billion in net revenue for the twelve months ended September 30, 2020. Wayfair offers over 18 million products across five distinct brands - Wayfair.com, AllModern, Birch Lane, Joss & Main and Perigold. The company employed more than 16,700 people as of September 30, 2020 and is headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts with operations throughout North America and Europe.
Westie, keep your posts on topic. If you're going to reach for examples, find one that's about towers. Not a random word vomit of corporate trivia. #BeBest. This applies across all threads and posts.
 

Roxxma

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Do we really want supertalls? Apparently they aren't all they're cracked up to be. I once lived in a new construction "luxury" loft building in the South End, built in 2006, that had so many flaws (no drains in the floor plate, so a toilet overflowing upstairs would ruin the ceiling below when the water reached the edge of the plate, no insulation between the garage and a first floor unit, so the first floor unit froze in the winter, no soundproofing between units, so you could plainly hear what your neighbors were watching, or at some times, their conversations, to name a few), a real estate agent I know would actively discourage clients from buying in it or any other building built by the same developer. At least that place was only seven floors.
 

Massachoicetts

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Do we really want supertalls? Apparently they aren't all they're cracked up to be. I once lived in a new construction "luxury" loft building in the South End, built in 2006, that had so many flaws (no drains in the floor plate, so a toilet overflowing upstairs would ruin the ceiling below when the water reached the edge of the plate, no insulation between the garage and a first floor unit, so the first floor unit froze in the winter, no soundproofing between units, so you could plainly hear what your neighbors were watching, or at some times, their conversations, to name a few), a real estate agent I know would actively discourage clients from buying in it or any other building built by the same developer. At least that place was only seven floors.
I think a few more 500-700fters in the Back Bay and like a very well done 850-900fter would finish off any skyscraper boom in Boston for me.
 

Gunner02

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I think a few more 500-700fters in the Back Bay and like a very well done 850-900fter would finish off any skyscraper boom in Boston for me.
Multiple 500-700 footers and an 850 foot tower all in back bay would be more than a boom, it'd be a revolution :)
 

DZH22

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Do we really want supertalls? Apparently they aren't all they're cracked up to be.
Those buildings are scary thin, and a solid 400'-600' taller than anything we'd ever be able to see in Boston.

Ultimately I'd like to see a 2 pronged glow-up where we get a 900'+ in Back Bay and an 800'+ near North Station. Would be nice if Cambridge had the guts to put something iconic in the middle of Kendall, but I'm not holding my breath.
 

Blackbird

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Even Toronto doesn't have any supertall buildings. It's tallest is only 298m. It's tallest residential building is 892 ft. A single 900'+ building is difficult for any city to accomplish.

It seems based on a quick search that a lot of the tallest buildings built in the last 10 years or so have been hotel buildings (like St. Regis and Trump Tower)? And Boston has a decent amount of hotel already coming online recently, so it seems unlikely to me that a hotel will want to build like that here in the foreseeable future?

Looks like there have been a few corporate ones. Comcast Center in Philly, Salesforce in SF, Grand Wilshire (who's the tenant here??) in LA.

I guess my contemplation boils down to: if Boston wants to build these tall buildings, who are we trying to emulate and how would we pull it off?
 

Rover

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I thought you couldn't build a super tall in Boston because of the airport. Am I missing something about FAA limits? There's like one corner of Back Bay and a couple of sites by north station that are even allowed to barely scrape 900-1000 and that's it IIRC.
 

Scott

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^Yes, and then those few areas have other peculiar factors that limit the possibilities even further.
 

Arlington

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I'd really much rather see more of the size of stuff such as at Boylston between Fenway and Longwood (or indeed Longwood's "hospital height" stuff)

And to see it atop transit. So Sullivan as the "new Kendall"

And isn't the post-Covid / telecommute world going to be at least more "multi-centric"? With industry clusters but never quite "Salesforce tower" ?
 

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