South Station's importance to Boston's transportation network is reflected by the 152,000 passengers that flow through the multimodal transportation hub every day. With convenient access to the MBTA's Red and Silver Lines, in addition to Commuter Rail, AMTRAK, and bus services, Boston's largest railroad station has operatng from an intricate Neoclassical stone building since 1898. A number of ideas to fill the airspace above the station with a skyscraper have been floated in the past, though none have seen the light of day, but a new partnership could finally bring action to the site. Global real estate firm Hines has announced a joint venture with China's Gemdale Properties & Investment Corporation Limited with the intention of redeveloping the property into a mixed-use complex. 

South Station, image by Tony Hisgett via Wikimedia Commons

The first phase would include the tallest building in Boston's financial district. The 51-storey tower would be broken down into a program of 26 office floors — starting nine storeys above the ground — and 16 residential condominium levels above. That differs from the original proposal, which called for a building almost entirely of offices. Preliminary work was conducted by Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects, a highly respected architecture firm and the minds behind icons like Kuala Lumpur's Petronas Towers and Hong Kong's Two International Finance Centre. 

The revised design for South Station Tower, image courtesy of Hines

The redevelopment would continue the revitalization efforts that the federal, state, and local governments have embarked on since the 1970s. The historic train station building was restored and expanded in the 1980s along with the reconstruction of all tracks and platforms. The bus terminal's first phase was completed in 1995. The current plan proposes a significant expansion of the bus terminal, increasing its capacity by 50 percent, while 530 parking spaces would serve the renewed site.

The previous design for South Station Tower, image courtesy of Hines

Improving the transportation infrastructure will result in enhanced pedestrian connections between buses, trains, and subways, as well as weather protection for train station platforms. The City has formally approved the new equity partner and the influx of overseas cash could be just the impetus needed to launch active work on the long-stalled project. Hines is hoping to begin construction on the site as soon as possible before their development rights expire in April 2017. 

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Related Companies:  Gemdale Properties & Investment Corporation Limited , Hines, Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects