Vertical panoramic view of the Prudential Tower
|Type||Office, Observation, Restaurant|
|Location||800 Boylston Street, Boston, Massachusetts, United States|
|Antenna spire||907 feet (276 m)|
|Roof||749 feet (228 m)|
|Floor area||1.2 million square feet (111,484 m²)|
|Design and construction|
|Architect||The Luckman Partnership|
The Prudential Tower, also known as the Prudential Building or, colloquially, The Pru, is an International Style skyscraper in Boston, Massachusetts. The building, a part of the Prudential Center complex, currently stands as the 2nd-tallest building in Boston, behind 200 Clarendon Street. The Prudential Tower was designed by Charles Luckman and Associates for Prudential Insurance. Completed in 1964, the building is 749 feet (228 m) tall, with 52 floors. It contains 1,200,000 sq ft (110,000 m2) of commercial and retail space. Including its radio mast, the tower stands as the tallest building in Boston and is tied with others as the 77th-tallest in the United States, rising to 907 feet (276 m) in height.
A restaurant, the Top of the Hub, occupies the 52nd floor. A 50th-floor observation deck, called the Skywalk Observatory, is currently the highest observation deck in New England open to the public, as the higher observation deck of the John Hancock Tower has been closed since the terror attacks of September 11, 2001.
The Prudential Tower began construction in 1960 with steel erection work by Donovan Steel. Upon its completion in 1964, the Prudential was the tallest building in the world outside of New York City, surpassing the Terminal Tower in Cleveland, Ohio. It dwarfed the 1947-John Hancock building. This spurred the insurance rival to build the 1975 John Hancock Tower, which is slightly taller at 790 feet (240 m).
Today, the Prudential is no longer among the fifty tallest buildings in the USA in architectural height. Within Boston, in addition to the nearby John Hancock tower, many other tall buildings have since been built in the financial district, including the 614-foot (187 m) Federal Reserve Bank. The Prudential and John Hancock towers dominate the Back Bay skyline.
When it was built, the Prudential Tower received mostly positive architectural reviews. The New York Times called it "the showcase of the New Boston [representing] the agony and the ecstasy of a city striving to rise above the sordidness of its recent past". But Ada Louise Huxtable called it "a flashy 52-story glass and aluminum tower ... part of an over-scaled megalomaniac group shockingly unrelated to the city's size, standards, or style. It is a slick developer's model dropped into an urban renewal slot in Anycity, U.S.A.—a textbook example of urban character assassination." Architect Donlyn Lyndon called it "an energetically ugly, square shaft that offends the Boston skyline more than any other structure". In 1990, Boston Globe architecture critic Robert Campbell commented: "The Prudential Center has been the symbol of bad design in Boston for so long that we'd probably miss it if it disappeared."
The Prudential Center is currently owned by Boston Properties. The building is one of several Prudential Centers built around the United States (such as the tower in Chicago) constructed as capital investments by Prudential Financial (formerly, The Prudential Insurance Company of America). Preceding Prudential Financial's demutualization, Prudential sold many of its real estate assets, for instance most of the air rights in Times Square, and the Prudential Center in Boston, to put cash on the corporate balance sheets. The Gillette Company, now a unit of Procter & Gamble, once occupied 40 percent of the space in the structure but has since vacated many of these floors. Boston-based law firm Ropes & Gray moved into much of this space, including the 37th through 49th, in fall 2010. Other major tenants include Wall St investment firm Home State Corporation, Partners HealthCare, Club Monaco, Exeter Group and Accenture. Boston Properties acquired the building in 1998. However, Prudential Financial's then head of global marketing, and Boston native, Michael Hines, suggested that the real estate deal only go through with the condition that Prudential retain the name and signage rights for the Prudential Center and Prudential Tower. Signage rights in Boston are very limited, and Prudential's are grandfathered. The other notable backlit signs allowed above 100 feet (30 m) include The Colonnade Hotel, Boston, State Street Bank sign, Sheraton sign, and Citgo Sign. Using similar negotiations, Prudential retains two notable signs in Times Square.
The tradition of using the window lights to support local sports teams and events began at its inception in 1964 supporting the charity drive for the United Fund, a predecessor of the United Way. The building's windows have been illuminated with "GO B's" to support the Boston Bruins during the Stanley Cup playoffs and "GO SOX" or a "1" during important World Series and postseason games.
In the 1999, 2003, 2004, 2007, and 2013 Major League Baseball playoffs, the building's tenants turned on and off their lights to spell out "GO SOX", providing a visual for Boston Red Sox fans at nearby Fenway Park. The tower appears in nearly all pictures of deep right field from the left field line, and is prominently featured in most broadcasts from the park.
On April 22, 2013, the City of Boston requested the lighting of the Prudential Tower with the number "1" in support of The One Fund Boston and those affected by the Boston Marathon bombings. The display was seen on the north side of the building, overlooking Boylston Street, where the tragedy occurred just a week earlier.
Over the past few years, the Prudential Tower has been illuminated through light-emitting diodes (LEDs), that have the capacity to create a glow near the top of the building. The lighting is used for special occasions and charitable events and can support nearly every color, including yellow, red, pink, blue, green, red, orange, gold, purple, and maroon.
The Prudential Center, situated on 23 acres (93,000 m2), is in the Back Bay neighborhood at 800 Boylston Street and houses a 620,000-square-foot (58,000 m2) shopping mall, the Shops at Prudential Center, in the base. Known to locals as "the Pru," it is bordered by Belvidere, Dalton, Boylston, and Exeter streets overlooking Huntington Avenue. Before the Prudential development, the site was a switch yard for the Boston and Albany Railroad. By 1965, a part of the negotiations for the Massachusetts Turnpike extension included the construction of the roadway below parts of the Prudential complex. The Prudential still has its own (eastbound only) exit from the turnpike for this reason.
The new skyscraper at 111 Huntington Avenue was completed in 2002, directly across the street from The Colonnade Hotel, at 120 Huntington Avenue. The third tower of the Prudential Center, 101 Huntington Avenue, is, at a mere 25 stories, overshadowed by the other two.
The Hynes Convention Center is connected to the complex, as well as the existing Sheraton Hotel Boston At Copley Place, which combined was considered the first mixed-use development in New England and awarded the Urban Land Institute's Best Mixed Use Development Award in 2006. By the fall of 2007, another major development was completed along Boylston Street at the Prudential Center complex: the Mandarin Oriental, Boston hotel. In 2016, 888 Boylston Street, a 17-story LEED Platinum-certified office building, completed the last site of the Prudential Center complex.
The complex has direct indoor connections to two MBTA stops, Prudential and Back Bay. Prudential is on the Huntington Avenue side of the building directly outside the Colonnade Hotel and is the first station on the Green Line "E" Branch after its split from the main line at Copley Square. Back Bay is a stop on the Orange Line and is accessible to the complex via the Copley Place mall, to which it is attached by a walkway over Huntington Avenue. Back Bay is also served by Amtrak, including the Acela high-speed train.
The Prudential Center serves as one of three starting locales for the Boston Duck Tours, a popular tourist attraction in the city.
In November 2016, a 45,000 square foot Eataly location was opened, replacing the existing food court.
The main rooftop mast supports two FM master antennas, and a top-mounted television antenna previously used by WBPX. The upper master antenna, manufactured by Electronics Research, Inc. (ERI), serves WZLX 100.7, WBMX 104.1, WMJX 106.7, and WXKS-FM 107.9. The lower master antenna was installed in the late 1990s, also by ERI, and serves WBOS 92.9, WBQT 96.9, and WROR-FM 105.7. The FM stations each transmit with approximately 22,000 watts ERP and in HD Radio. The roof also has a smaller tower with standby antennas for all of the FM broadcast tenants.
The studios of FM station WBCN occupied space on the 50th floor for a period in the 1970s and WEEI (AM 590 and FM 103.3), when it was a CBS Radio O&O, had its offices and studios on the 44th floor in the second half of the 1960s.
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