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Video: Looking at Boston’s Eight Most Iconic Buildings

53 State StreetBoston is home to a number of iconic buildings, including modern skyscrapers, historic landmarks, and everything between, which makes the process of ranking them not an easy task.

It was certainly a challenge to limit the list to just eight finalists (and yes, there is mild cheating involved). And with all of the new developments going up around the city, there may soon be more properties worthy of a spot in the coming years.

But for now, here are our choices for the most iconic buildings in Boston.

Watch the video or read on below.
 Boston's Iconic Office Buildings

Did we miss any you think deserve a place in our top eight? Tweet us @CushWakeBOSTON

#8. Custom House Tower, 3 McKinley Square, Financial District

When it was built (1913-1915) the city’s building code limited buildings to 125 feet, but the property’s federal status made it exempt from those restrictions. While it is now dwarfed by a number of properties surrounding it, the 496-foot tower was actually the tallest in Boston until the completion of the Prudential Tower in the mid-1960s.

After being home to various government agencies throughout the years, it was transformed into a hotel in the 1990s.

#7. 53 State Street, Financial District

Located at the corner of State and Congress Streets, 53 State Street represents a building which incorporates both historic significance as well as a premier office space location.

The property is a combination of the historic Boston Stock Exchange Building – first built in 1891 – and an office tower originally built in 1985 (with multiple renovations since). Reaching a height of 510 feet, the property includes approximately 1.2 million square feet of Class A office space – ranking 4th in the city overall.

#6. Millennium Tower, One Franklin Street, Downtown Crossing

Sitting on the site of the former Filene’s building in Downtown Crossing, the Millennium Tower is the tallest residential building in Boston, coming in at 685 feet.

Boasting more than 400 luxury condos – including a penthouse which sold for more than $30 million – and a host of exclusive amenities, the tower has sparked a resurgence of interest in Downtown Crossing while making an indelible mark on the city’s skyline.

#5. International Place, One & Two International Place, Financial District

The flagship development of the Chiofaro Company, International Place has been one of the premier office locations in the city since opening in 1987. The total complex includes 1.8 million square feet of office and retail space and a glass-enclosed courtyard.

Both towers in the development are among the tallest in the city, with One International Place ranking 6th at 600 feet, with Two International Place ranking 10th at “just” 538 feet.

#4. Faneuil Hall Market Place, Financial District

Faneuil Hall ranks highly on this list both in terms of its place in history as well as its standing in the city’s retail real estate market.

History at the site goes back to 1742, when it was developed as a local market by a wealthy merchant. It also served as a meeting place leading up to the Revolutionary War, and was later expanded in the early 19th century, growing into the shopping destination it is today.

There is actually more than 310,000 SF of retail space between all of the various buildings which make up the marketplace – not to mention all of the other retailers at 200 State Street and the restaurants on nearby Union Street – ranking it right with the Prudential Center and Newbury Street as the city’s premier retail destinations.

#3. Fenway Park, 4-24 Yawkey Way, Fenway

Fenway Park is not a traditional building. But for this list, we’re ignoring that fact. Sitting on roughly 7.6 acres, the park has drawn fans of the Red Sox and other teams since 1912.

In that time, more than 154 million fans have walked through its gates for to see a Red Sox game (Sox attendance only – not including concerts, Winter Classic games, or even the Boston Patriots from 1963 to 1968).

There have been a number of renovations to “America’s Most Beloved Ballpark” throughout the years, bringing modern amenities and increasing the park’s baseball capacity to 37,731 at night games.

#2. Prudential Center, 800 Boylston Street, Back Bay

The debate between the top two buildings on this list was very close, with the Prudential Center complex finishing in a close second.

When built in 1965, the 52-story 750-foot tower was the tallest building in the world without a New York City address, and still ranks as the 2nd tallest in the city of Boston.

Combined, the Pru complex includes three office buildings containing 2.6 million square feet in addition to the Prudential Center mall which boasts 620,000 SF of retail space. The complex is also connected to the Hynes Convention Center, which helped it win a Mixed-Use development award from the Urban Land Institute in 2006.

#1. 200 Clarendon (Formerly the John Hancock Tower)

200 Clarendon Street (formerly named the John Hancock Tower) remains one of the most prominent buildings in Boston.

While the I. M. Pei-designed property had a number of issues in terms of construction and design in the 1970s, the all-glass design is a memorable piece of the Boston skyline.

Formerly named for John Hancock Insurance, the name of the 1.7 million square foot building changed to 200 Clarendon in 2015 after the property was sold and John Hancock’s lease expired.

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