Boston’s South Station before construction started on Hines’ air-rights tower in 2020. The tower and associated other buildings were first proposed in 1989. Photo by Tony Hisgett | CC BY 2.0

What: South Station air rights development
Where: 700 Atlantic Ave., Boston
When: Nov. 16, 1989 

As fall turned to winter in 1989, the Boston Redevelopment Authority announced it was seeking proposals to develop an air rights project above the South Station rail yard. 

Periodic discussions about a private development at the Atlantic Avenue property took place after the BRA sold the 1899 historic landmark to the MBTA in 1977, while retaining the air rights over the station and tracks. 

Tufts University Development Corp. was named developer in 1991, and partnered with Houston-based Hines on the early stages of predevelopment. 

It wasn’t until 2020, however, that Hines broke ground on the first phase of the project – a 678-foot-tall office-condominium tower – after receiving $870 million in construction financing. Completion is scheduled for 2025. 

“Over the course of 30 or 40 years that this project has been around, part of the reason it didn’t get done is because it’s enormously challenging and with that comes all kinds of financial risk, operating risk, construction risk, name it. There was frankly a lot of doubt whether anybody would be willing to take the chance associated with building this.”
— Gov. Charlie Baker during the tower’s 2022 groundbreaking celebration 

To celebrate its 150th anniversary, Banker & Tradesman is highlighting significant moments in the history of Massachusetts’ real estate and banking industries. To suggest a topic, email

This Month in History: A Tower Over South Station?

by Steve Adams time to read: 1 min