Church selects developer for Belvidere/Dalton sites

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The First Church of Christ, Scientist, has selected Carpenter & Company (http://carpenterandcompanyinc.com/) as the master developer for the two approved development sites on Belvidere and Dalton streets, located behind 101 Belvidere (the former Colonnade building) and across the street from the Hilton and Sheraton Hotels. (See photo for aerial of sites.)

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“The Christian Science Plaza has always served as a beautiful outdoor destination for our city and its residents,” Mayor Menino said.  “I am very pleased that the development of these buildings will allow the Plaza itself to be maintained for the enjoyment of Boston residents and visitors for many years to come.”

The selection was based on specific qualitative and quantitative criteria and is the culmination of a competitive process initiated by the Church’s broker, HFF, last summer. This is a pivotal next step in the fulfillment of the Plaza Revitalization Project, where one objective is to put underutilized property to work to generate real estate revenue to help offset real estate expenses.

“Our firm has the good fortune of being able to only compete for projects that we believe to be remarkable, with an opportunity to be innovative,” commented Richard L. Friedman, President and CEO of Carpenter. “This site absolutely captivated us. It is a gem without peer—a development site in the illustrious Back Bay that is set within a beautifully master-planned iconic site. We could not be more thrilled to work with the Church on this site and to bring to bear the vision that our team has developed.”

Planned uses for the proposed new buildings are rental apartments, condominiums, a hotel, and ground-floor restaurants and retail.  

Carpenter’s residential partner will be the Pritzker Realty Group. The architect team will include Henry Cobb of Pei Cobb Freed & Partners in collaboration with Cambridge Seven Associates. Henry Cobb was the design partner for I.M. Pei & Partners for Boston’s John Hancock Tower during the 1960s-’70s when the Church Plaza was developed. They will bring design sensitivity to ensure that the new buildings integrate harmoniously with both the Plaza and the surrounding neighborhoods.

Carpenter and its team will be responsible for designing, financing, constructing, and maintaining the new buildings. The Church will cooperate with Carpenter during the planning, design, and public review processes. After necessary approvals and permits are obtained, Carpenter will take over full ownership of the property.

Additional details, including financial information, will be shared when documents have been finalized and executed. But for now, we wanted to let you know about this significant next step of progress. Click here for the Press Notice by Carpenter.

  1. Thank you for sharing this information and these progressive steps for the lovely grounds around the church.

  2. Great to see this exciting progress.

  3. I love my religion and every thing done to bring out that light on top of a mountain. May it be there for eternity letting the light of Christian Science light up the sky. Oh! What a beautiful landscape.

  4. Your serious, comprehensive search for the right team to carry out this project has yielded wonderful results. Part of this is Boston itself--offering an embarrassment of riches, a competition among numerous firms with global as well as regional reputations.

    I have been away from observing current practice for so long, I no longer know the details, specially on the development side. The history though, is still fresh.

    Araldo Cossutta was the Pei partner chosen to do the Master Plan for the original Headquarters Expansion, and I believe some some, if not all the individual new buildings (Sunday School, Admin, etc.). His Third Church of Christ Scientist, Washington DC had been a bit of an "audition" or entree to the Christian Science church (and was sadly demolished not long ago, along with, I believe, the CS Monitor bureau offices that had been integrated on the same site.)

    Cossutta later left the Pei firm to form his own, and I have no idea if he made a move to be in on the reworking of areas around his old "stomping ground."

    Throughout his long career, I.M. Pei certainly has kept a watchful eye on major projects, and I would not be surprised if he maintains an active interest in this one, even at age 96.

    Having long time Pei Partner Henry Cobb on board is a huge plus, in understanding and maintaining the Pei design philosophy.

  5. This is so exciting. Patience, harmony and consistency are certainly demonstrating perfection in this endeavor!

  6. It would be helpful to have a better picture of how three buildings will fit into that space behind the former Collonade building. It looks so small. Would some of those small brick buildings be demolished? That little street is so pretty. Hard to tell from the drawing with the three red areas. Perhaps another drawing would help. I'm sure you have a good plan- just could use some pictures in order to understand it better. Thanks.

  7. Will Carpenter be "taking over full ownership of the property?" Ore will Carpenter be leasing the property from Church Realty, with an annual income flow to the Church, and owning only the buildings on the site?

  8. When the following happens, "Carpenter will take over full ownership of the property" will that still be a long-term lease as presaged Feb 23, 2012 when selecting HFF, LP, or is it now effectively a sale or divestment of these two parcels?

  9. Hi Nancy, Even though there are three red areas on the site plan at the top, there are not three buildings being proposed. There will be two buildings and a park in those three red area sites. None of the brick buildings will be destroyed. The land is now either vacant or used for parking lots.

  10. I, too, am curious about the comment in the release that "Carpenter will take over full ownership of the property." Is that correct?

    The original plan stated that the purpose of these buildings was to generate long-term real-estate revenue for the church to offset the costs of plaza maintanance. Will the church be simply selling these buildings? Can someone please clarify?

  11. Hi Jason. Yes, Carpenter will take over full ownership of the property. This is an outright sale of the property (land) by the Church, not a long-term ground lease. Carpenter will build new buildings on the vacant land and will own them. This is consistent with the Church's original goal that includes revenues to offset the costs of operational costs for the plaza. More information will be posted as things move forward.

  12. We all hope that success will take place with this new adventure. My only concern is that we make sure that we look at things not as a Christian Scientist but as the Christ Science itself. We always want to make sure we are on firm groundings.

  13. A very interesting development. I have only just become aware of this project. Having devoted several years, along with several others, to the development of a branch church in my home town, I am aware of the sometimes very large costs of maintaining and sometimes upgrading a facility. I shall be interested in seeing how the numbers look when all the reports are in. Thanks for all the prayer and care that is being put into this project.

  14. I'm a bit concerned about the height of this 60-story building. It will be taller than the Prudential Building (which is 52 floors),and its proximity to The Mother Church would almost threaten to overshadow the Church. I'm sure much thought has been put into this, but why the desire for such a very tall building?

  15. Hi Debra, The new building is 699 feet and the Prudential is at 750 feet. The new tower's proximity to the Prudential tower is the more important relationship within the urban context. Neither of these two towers pose any threat to either the location or significance of The Mother Church. The more significant relationship for The Mother Church is within the context as experienced by pedestrians from ground level, and that relationship is intact related to its positioning at the "heart" of our plaza.

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