BOSTON-The Prudential Project Advisory Committee gave its final approval to the hotel and residential development a group of local developers have proposed building here on Boylston Street at the Prudential Center, which is owned by Boston Properties.

According to Meg Mainzer-Cohen, executive director of the Back Bay Association and a member of Pru Pac, the vote was nearly unanimous with one dissenting member. Pru Pac is a committee representing approximately 23 neighborhood and business groups that was put together in the mid 1980s to do design review on projects at the Prudential Center. “We are involved in any significant development there,” Mainzer-Cohen tells, including 11 Huntington, the Shaw’s market and the redesign of the Center.

The site here was approved for residential development but the developers, Robin Brown, Steve Weiner and Julian Cohen, initially proposed developing a hotel on the site instead. Pru Pac rejected the proposal and the plans have been going back and forth until the recent plan–which includes a hotel and a residential complex in two 155-foot-tall buildings–was proposed. “There’s a sense that housing will bring more life and vitality to the street,” notes Mainzer-Choen, explaining why the committee insisted on a residential component for the site. “When people live in an area, it improves it. They are invested in that area.”

The approved proposal includes a 168-room hotel, 58 rental apartments, 48 condominiums, and 50,000 sf of retail space. Ten percent of the housing will be designated affordable, which is unusual for this area. The city’s inclusionary zoning law requires a 10% affordable-housing component but most developers in this area meet the requirement by developing the housing off-site. “This will be the first affordable housing built in the Back Bay in many years,” says Mainzer-Cohen.

The project now has to go through the Boston Redevelopment Authority’s approval process.

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