Image courtesy of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill

Skanska has bought the site and permitted design of John Hancock’s once-planned 26-story Back Bay office tower, and could add lab space to the design.

The company bought the nearly 30,000-square-foot property at 380 Stuart St. from John Hancock for $177 million, the company announced this morning. The insurance company had put the land and the 27-story project up for sale in October 2019 after consolidating its headquarters at 197 Clarendon St. and 200 Berkeley St. and determining the marquee tower was no longer needed.

The $350 million, 390-foot-tall tower, known as “the paper shredder” to some due to its unusual crown, was designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and CBT Architects, and was approved by Boston development officials in 2016.

Skanska is considering how it might adapt the design to the market’s needs before breaking ground, Skanska USA Director of Communications Alicia Jones told Banker & Tradesman, since the original tower was optimized to be a single-user corporate headquarters.

Lab space is under consideration, she said, but no target date has been set for groundbreaking or filing any permit updates with the Boston Planning & Development Agency.

The original design for the 625,000-square-foot tower contains below-grade parking, a conference center and roof deck, plus ground-floor retail and significant upgrades to the local streetscape. Skanska’s updates to the project will target LEED Platinum, Fitwell and WiredScore certifications, it said in a statement.

The tower will also be Skanska’s first recent non-residential project in Boston outside of the Seaport District, where it developed notable buildings like the elliptical 121 Seaport. Its only other notable local project outside the Seaport has been The Harlo on Boylston Street in the Fenway, although it had been in talks last year with US2, the master developer of a life science cluster in Somerville’s Union Square, to join that project. Those talks have since ended without result, a Skanska spokesperson said.

Updated 8:57 a.m. Dec. 7, 2020: This story has been updated to reflect CBT Architects’ participation in the design of the proposed 2016 John Hancock building and to reflect the current status of Skanska’s negotiations with US2. Those talks have ended without Skanska joining the project.

Skanska Plans Back Bay Tower, Lab Space Possible

by James Sanna time to read: 1 min