Reimagining Kenmore Square

Reimagining Kenmore Square

Close your eyes and imagine a new Kenmore Square.

A soaring 28-story glass hotel rises up from a tree-lined plaza at the fork in the road where Beacon Street and Commonwealth Avenue split. The patch where the hotel stands is also an oasis for people who are window shopping or looking for a spot to sip their iced coffee on a breezy spring day. Cars, pedestrians, and cyclists coexist calmly and safely in a new and simplified intersection, and crossing through it no longer feels like an exercise in self-preservation. Kenmore Square is now a scenic gateway, in one direction toward Boston University, in another toward Fenway Park, and in a third toward the beautiful canopy heading downtown along Commonwealth Avenue.

Now open your eyes. That’s the vision for Kenmore Square unveiled Tuesday night by Mark Development CEO Robert Korff, who says he wants to turn one of Boston’s busiest and best-known intersections into a destination that would “put the square back in Kenmore Square.”

Developer offers a vision to get Kenmore Square moving

Developer offers a vision to get Kenmore Square moving

Kenmore Square may never be the same.

A developer is proposing to build a major hotel and plaza in the heart of the square that would dramatically change the way vehicles, pedestrians, and bicycles move through the congested intersection.

Robert Korff, who owns the Citizens Bank building at the junction of Commonwealth Avenue and Beacon Street, unveiled the bold plan Tuesday night at a community meeting.

Drawings show a flatiron-shaped tower — designed by prominent Chicago architecture firm Studio Gang — soaring nearly 300 feet above the square, with a spacious plaza at its base that replaces what is now largely asphalt. Most significantly, Korff wants to cut a new street behind the hotel that would connect Commonwealth Avenue and Beacon Street and allow much of the traffic that now passes through the five-way intersection to be diverted around it.

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