BLDUP Project Spotlight: One Congress, Boston's Newest Architectural Icon 11/01/23

one congress spotlight

Earlier this fall, One Congress, Boston’s newest trophy office tower and the largest new office project in the city celebrated its grand opening. BLDUP spoke with the development team, Carr Properties, National Real Estate Advisors, and The HYM Investment Group to discuss this innovative development and the future of Bulfinch Crossing.


BLDUP: Given current office market conditions, what factors allowed One Congress to deliver fully leased, including two of the largest office leases in Boston within the last 20 years?

One Congress Team: Following the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a flight to quality in the national office market as companies sought innovative ways to attract employees back to the office. From design to development, the One Congress team invested in state-of-the-art amenities, cutting-edge sustainability practices and clean-technology features that established a new standard of luxury and hospitality. 

One Congress is the only office building in Boston to offer customers a full-floor amenity center as well as extensive outdoor space spanning just under one acre in length. Developed by leading interior design firm Gachot Studios, the 11th floor amenity center includes a 7,000 square foot, state-of-the-art fitness center, a marketplace with food offerings by Stephen Starr, various customer lounges, a cocktail bar, and approximately 4,700 square feet of conference space. The amenity center opens up to the 15,000 square foot outdoor terrace that offers even more outdoor conference spaces, an outdoor bar, and unparalleled panoramic views of the Boston Harbor and the North End. 

These offerings create an unparalleled customer experience and contributed to One Congress’s ability to deliver fully-leased with leading tenants State Street Bank, InterSystems, K&L Gates, Trillium Asset Management, and Husch Blackwell. 

BLDUP: Discuss the role sustainability & tenant health/well-being played in the project.

One Congress Team: One Congress’ extensive sustainability and wellness-focused amenity features provide customers an exceptional workplace environment that fosters health and well-being. As the only office tower in Boston over one million square feet to be LEED Platinum certified, sustainable features were a priority during the design and development of the building.

The One Congress team integrated hospital-grade, MERV-15 filtration systems throughout the building that captures 95% of particles and provides four outdoor turns of air each hour, ensuring customers experience the highest air quality possible. Touchless technology systems, which mitigate the spread of bacteria, are integrated throughout the building and play an important role in minimizing the impact of cold and flu season and maintaining an exceptional day-to-day level of cleanliness in the building.

Additionally, the buildings' commuter-convenient location is accessible to several MBTA stations and boasts a 99-Walk score, encouraging One Congress customers to utilize green transportation options.

BLDUP: At 1M SF and 600 feet tall, the size of the project certainly called for a distinct design. Can you discuss the design process, from project team selection through final designs?

One Congress Team: After an extensive RFP process, the One Congress team selected internationally renowned architectural firm, Pelli Clarke & Partners to design One Congress. Through Pelli Clarke & Partners’ extraordinary vision, One Congress has quickly become Boston’s next architectural icon and redefined the city’s skyline. 

One Congress’ composition is curved and gently tapered, differing from the typical rectilinear towers of the Boston skyline. The exterior wall is a fluid form that accentuates the tower’s height with the front façade opening like a dramatic theatrical curtain. Lit at night, the graceful silhouette of its outer shell will glow softly on the horizon. Through high-performance glazing and a curtain wall designed to address multiple solar orientations, the tower will achieve significant energy efficiency, helping it to achieve a LEED Platinum rating.

The building’s rooftop terrace provides a quiet respite for customers and offers tremendous views of Boston’s iconic North End Neighborhood and Boston Harbor. Sloping berms define exclusive spaces for individual terraces and complement the sweeping form of the building.

BLDUP: Carr is new to the Boston market, what drew the firm to this project/the Boston real estate market?

One Congress Team: One Congress provided the Carr team the unique ability to own and develop a building that would embody the workplace of the future and serve as an iconic addition to Boston’s skyline. 

We were fortunate to enter into a partnership with National Real Estate Advisors and The HYM Investment Group on the One Congress project, drawing on our collective expertise in the Boston commercial real estate market. 

Carr was attracted to the fundamentals of the Boston market as an innovation-based economy. Boston offers a tremendous long-term growth profile due to the strength of its technology and life science industries combined with world class research universities. These fundamentals should continue to drive growth in the Boston area, and demand for next generation office like One Congress, for many years to come. 

BLDUP: The One Congress development has not come without challenges. How did these issues affect the project and how did the team work to manage the complications?

One Congress Team: While the One Congress team encountered challenges throughout the construction and development of One Congress, we were able to overcome through the collaboration, hard work and resilience of our best-in class team. As a result of their efforts and tireless dedication, we proudly opened One Congress earlier this year, a one million square feet of trophy office building and the largest delivery of office in Boston in 2023.

BLDUP: With One Congress now complete, what is the status of future phases of the Bulfinch Crossing Project?

One Congress Team: One Congress will serve as the anchor of Bulfinch Crossing, a 4.8-acre new neighborhood that will include four new mid- and high-rise buildings upon completion, including One Congress and The Sudbury, a 45-story residential building consisting of 368 apartments and 55 condominiums that delivered in 2020. Future development of the site will include Two Congress, a 500,000 SF, state-of-the-art, Class A life science and office tower.

With over one million square feet of office and research laboratory space, more than 700 residential units, 30,000 square feet of new retail space and a vibrant new pedestrian square, the redevelopment is at the forefront of Boston’s urban evolution and the future of mixed-use development in the city.