|By Greg Turner, Boston
HeraldMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Oct. 31, 2012--Developers of a hotel and condo tower say the project will energize a "lifeless" block of Stuart Street, but Back Bay neighbors hope it won't worsen wind conditions or cast shadows across Copley Square.
A team of Hub hoteliers Gary and Jeffrey Saunders and real estate partner Jordan Warshaw yesterday unveiled their $225 million plan for 40 Trinity Place, a 33-story glass and metal structure that would replace the eight-story Boston Common Hotel & Conference Center, across from the Hancock Tower.
The building would feature a "four-plus-star" boutique hotel with 220 rooms, two restaurants and conference facilities, along with a 142 luxury condos on the upper floors.
"It's a fantastic location for condominiums," Warshaw said. "There's a real imbalance between the number of condos in this area and the people that are looking for them."
The project filing starts a review by the Boston Redevelopment Authority that includes input from residents who will be scrutinizing wind, shadow and traffic impacts.
"The building creates an opportunity to enliven what is now a very quiet part of the Back Bay, which is a good thing," said state Rep. Marty Walz (D-Boston). "But we aren't going to want to see the wind conditions worsen. It's a very challenging area."
Warshaw said the tower was designed by The Architectural Team of Boston to "present a slender profile" toward Copley Square to minimize shadows. "We'll continue to work to be sensitive" to the neighborhoods' concerns, he said.
The developers also tapped Stonehill & Taylor Architects, a New York firm that specializes in interiors, to create "a real gathering place" not only for hotel guests but the locals as well, Warshaw said.
The project will require relief from zoning rules limiting height and density on the proposed site.
Mayor Thomas M. Menino gave his blessing to the project, saying in a statement released by the developer that the tower will be "a wonderful addition" to the Back Bay and the hotel will "bring even more visitors from all over the world" to Boston.
The plan includes expansion space for the University Club, a private social and athletic club that's been in an adjacent building since 1928.
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