In the Back Bay, you have two active neighborhood associations. The Neighborhood Association of the Back Bay (NABB) and the Back Bay Association (BBA?).

I believe the BBA is more of a business-oriented organization, but regardless, nothing gets built or changed in that neighborhood unless both groups are on-board.

Actually, there’s three organizations; PruPAC is a monstrous community-led organization which was created to work on issues related to the Prudential Tower plaza.

Which is important, these days, because Boston Properties, owner of the land and property, has recently proposed two new towers for the plaza – a 19-story office building on Boylston Street (next to the new Mandarin Oriental) and a 30-story residential tower around the corner, on Exeter Street (across from the Residence Inn … and The Saint).

There is a group of vocal critics who don’t want anything built above what was previously approved, on Boylston Street, and nothing at all, on Exeter St.

Mayor Thomas M Menino has asked the developer and neighbors to work out a compromise, to no avail.

Toward the bottom of a recent Banker & Tradesman article was this:

… [Jacquelin] Yessian, NABB’s chairwoman, has declined to comment on Menino’s offer for a compromise. But in an op-ed column in The Boston Courant last year, she wrote that while the 11-story building called for in the master plan would be an asset to the Pru, “we strongly oppose any building that would exceed this height.”


Meg Mainzer-Cohen, president of the Back Bay Association and a strong supporter of the building at 19 stories, said she is disappointed that some members of PruPAC have refused to consider a compromise.

“The point of PruPAC is to work together to reach consensus,” she said.

In a recent letter to the BRA, Mainzer-Cohen wrote, “The building proposed at 888 Boylston St. at 19 stories is a better building for the neighborhood and will create another signature building in Back Bay …”

So, it looks as though there is dissension in the ranks. BBA vs. NABB.

Meanwhile, rumor has it that the leadership of PruPAC supports the towers, or at least is more open to negotiation, while the “rank and file” are opposed, unilaterally.

Source: Centremark Proposes Hub Office Plan – By Thomas Grillo, Banker & Tradesman