Boston Redevelopment Authority Approves New Hancock Building at 380 Stuart Street

Make way for the giant Keurig machine in the sky.


The Boston Redevelopment Authority’s board of directors approved four new projects Tuesday night, including John Hancock’s $350 million office tower at 380 Stuart Street in Back Bay.

Designed by Chicago-based Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM), the 26-story, 625,000-square-foot building will accommodate 3,000 employees. The mid-size 380 Stuart Street will also include a fitness center, a roof deck for community events, and ground-floor retail and restaurant space, as well as 175 underground parking spaces.

As required by zoning, John Hancock will contribute $5.25 million in linkage payments—$4.38 million into the Neighborhood Housing Trust and $876,000 into the Neighborhood Jobs Trust—as required by zoning, in addition to a $100,000 commitment to the Friends of Copley Square to help beautify the public park.

Image via Boston Redevelopment Authority

Image via Boston Redevelopment Authority

As we’ve previously noted, there’s nothing ostensibly horrible about 380 Stuart Street’s design, though some of SOM’s choices are a tad curious. Wrote Boston magazine’s resident architecture critic Rachel Slade last week:

But, oh god, what they’ve proposed for this poor little backend box: a massive arched entry, complete with little side wings, and a bizarre atomic-age topper. Think grandpa’s electric razor mated with the Stealth Bomber. Yep, it will “look different” than the crowns, spires, and flat tops surrounding it. Is different good? The jury seems to think so…

It’s what happens at the ground floor that should have a lot of people scratching their heads. For some reason, the rounded square (a squircle?) lipstick-case of a building pulls away quite a bit from its neighbors on both sides, as if it doesn’t want to rub up against those lowly masonry thugs to the right and left. Which leaves big gaping holes in the street fabric, like missing teeth. That’s the condition SOM inherited. But the firm’s search for meaning left us with bombast.

John Hancock expects to begin construction in the latter half of 2016, with an anticipated completion date of early 2019.