Rising from the Back Bay for more than three years, Boston's newest skyscraper is nearing completion and on Tuesday hosted the mayor and developers for a topping-off ceremony.
Hundreds of construction workers filled a plaza at the foot of the building officially dubbed the "Four Seasons Hotel and Private Residences One Dalton Street, Boston," to mark the end of vertical construction on what will be the third tallest building in Boston and the tallest building in New England that people will call home.
"It's exciting to watch this building grow as it's been going up," Boston Mayor Martin Walsh said Tuesday. "We've already seen it transform our skyline and it represents how dynamic Boston really is."
The building was designed by Harry Cobb of Pei Cobb Freed & Partners and Cambridge Seven Associates, is being developed by Carpenter & Company and is being built by Suffolk Construction.
At 742 feet, the tower at One Dalton St. is 48 feet shorter than the former John Hancock Tower at 200 Clarendon St. and seven feet shorter than the neighboring Prudential Tower. It's 57 feet taller than the Millennium Tower in Downtown Crossing.
The height of the building was a recurring theme of Tuesday's ceremony, with the mayor and others ribbing Carpenter & Company CEO and President Richard Friedman about the fact that his tower will not be the city's tallest.
"When I became the mayor I asked Dick to come in one day and he came in and I said to him, 'Is there any way we could make this building taller than 742 feet' because I wanted to have the tallest building built in Boston," Walsh said. "We thought about it for a little while and we couldn't make it happen. That's OK, it's still one of the tallest buildings in Boston."
Friedman said, "I wish it was the tallest, but we couldn't quite make it happen."
One Dalton seen earlier this summer from the Prudential Tower, which is seven feet taller than its new neighbor. [Photo: Colin Young/File/SHNS]
When the Boston Globe interviewed Friedman about the project in March, the developer said the building should have been slightly taller.
"I Zambonied up," the Globe quoted him as saying in a story in which it says it replaced the "f-word" with the word "Zamboni."
One Dalton Street: Changing Boston
The project broke ground in January 2015 and is expected to open in the first quarter of 2019, according to developers. When completed, the 61-story tower will include 215 Four Seasons hotel rooms and 174 condominiums. The project price tag has been pegged at roughly $850 million.
The mayor said the project has, so far, put construction crews to work for about 900,000 man hours.
Friedman predicted Tuesday that his One Dalton Street spire will likely be the last tower built along Boston's High Spine, the ribbon of tall buildings that includes the Pru, 111 Huntington Ave., 200 Clarendon St. and others.
"We really have changed this city forever," he said.
John Fish, the Suffolk Construction CEO, said Tuesday that One Dalton Street is "changing the brand of Boston globally."
Walsh, the former head of the Building and Construction Trades Council, took a trip to the top of the tower with Friedman and Fish on Tuesday "to check out the view" after a brief speaking program.
On the project's website, developers boast of "sweeping, unobstructed views [that] reveal the classic New England landscape in every direction from the Charles River and Boston Harbor to the Berkshire and White Mountains and Cape Cod shores."
While the mayor and others scoped out the view from the upper levels of the skyscraper, where the priciest and swankiest penthouses will be, Rep. Byron Rushing spoke about the affordable housing component that is part of the development that sits at the edge of his House district.
"In all of these projects, I think we should have as much affordable housing as possible, I think that affordable housing should be downtown or close to downtown," the House's assistant majority leader told reporters. "I have no problem with having major investment in downtown Boston, I just think that the downtown neighborhoods should be also a benefit, that all the money for affordable housing shouldn't go all the way in Boston into other neighborhoods. Poor people should be able to live downtown."
The Boston Planning and Development Agency said the One Dalton Street project is supporting the creation of 21 income-restricted apartments at 9 Williams St. and seven income-restricted homeownership units at 2451 Washington St., both near Dudley Square in Roxbury.
During his remarks Tuesday, Friedman acknowledged Rushing and said that Rushing "could have killed this project."
Asked about the notion that he could have squashed the construction of One Dalton Street, Rushing said with a laugh, "That's a terrible reputation to have, but I want all developers to believe it. But it's not true. It's one of those things that's not true but I want them all to believe it."