The Christian Science Church announces details of plaza revitalization

Since 2011, Boston’s Christian Science Church has pursued plans to reconstruct the church’s 15-acre plaza in the Back Bay. The plans submitted to the Boston Redevelopment Authority, which were approved in 2011, include the construction of two commercial buildings. The first has an approved high of 500 feet and the second has a pre-approved height of 250 feet. The initial purpose for construction was to raise revenue to maintain the expansive plaza which has an annual upkeep of approximately $2 million. The planned buildings will include a hotel, condominiums, and apartments as well as ground floor retail space. The last major renovations were implemented in the 1960’s when architect Ieoh Ming Pei designed administrative buildings, a reflective pool, colonnade, and fountain for the plaza.

This past week, the Christian Science Church announced its selection of Carpenter & Co., a Cambridge-based company as the master developer for both parcels of land. The project is aimed at revitalizing the plaza and bringing in new streams of revenue for the church. Richard Friedman, Carpenter’s president and CEO is excited about the opportunity.  “This is an incredibly unique urban planning opportunity to enhance the church’s plaza and its world class development. To me, it’s like dealing with a jewel of an urban environment and I’m very excited about it,” he said.

Boston Christian Science Center

Furthermore, Carpenter recently hired Pei Cobb Freed & Partners as well as Cambridge Seven Associates as collaborating architects on the project reports Boston.com. As of now, no renditions of the proposed buildings have been released. Revitalization of the site will include the reconstruction of the church’s 686-foot reflection pool, which is recognized as a landmark by the Boston Landmarks Commission meaning all projects must be pre-approved by the council.