The three tallest buildings in Boston are:
- The John Hancock Tower at 790 feet with 60 stories
- The Prudential Center at 749 feet with 52 stories
- The Boston Fed at 641 feet with 32 stories
Their floor-area ratios (the amount of interior space they have relative to their overall ground footprint) are:
* This includes the entire Prudential Center, which has a footprint of over 1 million square feet, or 100,000 square meters. Much of this is retail space; the office portions are much higher. See section 2-8 of this report.
The Pru sort of gets an out. It was built on former rail yards and above a highway, it’s had more density added in recent years, and a lot of it is an indoor shopping area and supermarket. In addition, it’s better oriented itself to nearby streets in recent years (although it certainly has a ways to go to integrate in to the neighborhood).
The Fed doesn’t. It has a big outdoor plaza and a small, low-rise conference center and … not much else. There’s a nice plaza outside (we wrote about it’s many bollards) with an adjacent entrance to the subway. (Interesting to note that the three tallest buildings in town are all within a block of a major transit node.) But transit is a great place to build dense buildings. You don’t need a lot of parking spaces, as innumerable people can walk through the doors without major congestion. Maybe you won’t build the Hancock tower. But a FAR of 4? That’s no improvement over the low-rise buildings the site replaced. It’s not as bad as a suburban office tower surrounded by parking lots, but for such a tall building, it has a large footprint, and surprisingly little inside space.