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Developer Revises Kenmore Square Hotel Proposal With More Height, Improved Streetscape

Kenmore Square will have a distinct addition to the High Spine if a developer gets his way. 

Developer Revises Kenmore Square Hotel Proposal With More Height, Improved Streetscape
Rendering of a proposed 300-foot hotel in Kenmore Square by developer Robert Korff

Mark Development founding principal Robert Korff owns the Citizens Bank building at Commonwealth Avenue and Beacon Street and pitched a proposal Tuesday that would eventually deliver a 300-foot tower, public plaza and reworked roadway.

The plan calls for a new street behind the hotel to connect Commonwealth Avenue to Beacon Street before their current junction at a five-way intersection in the heart of Kenmore Square, the Boston Globe reports

“Our plan is to create a Kenmore Square whose heart is a public space, rather than a busy roadway,” urban planner Jeff Speck, who is working for Korff on the proposal, told the Globe. 

Towering hotel plans at the intersection have evolved over the last two years, and at one point included a dual tower proposal developed between Mark Development and Buckminster Annex Corp., the owner of the Buckminster Hotel across Beacon Street from Korff’s property.

The original plan included a 260-foot hotel on the Korff property close to a nearby condo development, but the current, $200M plan puts the hotel tower closer to the heart of Kenmore Square. The new road behind it enables shorter crosswalks, replaces a vacant lot with a public plaza and creates new bike lanes. 

The 389-room hotel would also include 1,500 SF of retail, become the tallest building in Kenmore Square and be the latest in a wave of development that is pushing the boundaries of Boston’s High Spine of skyscrapers. Originally mapped out in the early 1960s to run from Massachusetts Avenue to downtown Boston between Boylston Street and Columbus Avenue, the High Spine’s tract of towers has pushed farther west in recent years. 

Samuels & Associates developed the tallest building in the Fenway neighborhood with the 378-foot Pierce Boston residential tower at Boylston Street and Brookline Avenue. The second phase of the Fenway Center calls for a 305-foot air rights tower to be built over the Massachusetts Turnpike, and Boston University intends to build a 17-story data science center down the street from the Korff proposal on Commonwealth Avenue.