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History of Real Estate in the Copley Square Area

History of Real Estate in the Copley Square Area

Boston's Copley Square contains a mix of residential and commercial buildings. It has many historic landmarks and a large number of cultural institutions. The square, named after painter John Singleton Copley, is a public space within the larger Back Bay neighborhood.

Historically, Copley Square has been hailed as an architectural landmark. Many of its original iconic structures remain, including Old South Church, built in 1873 in the Venetian Gothic Revival style, Trinity Church, a Romanesque Revival establishment constructed in 1877, and Boston Public Library, an Italian Renaissance style facility built in 1895. Showing the square's shift to include commercial infrastructure, the Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel began operating in 1912 and the John Hancock Tower, completed in 1976, brought business and jobs to the area. Standing 790 feet high, it gave Copley Square a vertical skyline. The building is the tallest in New England.

Copley Square is surrounded by several streets, including Boylston Street, Clarendon Street, St. James Avenue, and Dartmouth Street. Copley Square was called Art Square until the 1880s due to its artistic identity and the large number of neighboring academic institutions. Copley Square's design was reconfigured in 1994, when the streets were modified to make the square actually shaped like a square. Over time, some of its key landmarks have remained, although the urban landscape has moved away from an educational theme to a modernized community with hotels, high rises, and businesses. Transportation centers have also emerged in Copley Square, and it is a key juncture of the MBTA, with the Copley Station and several MBTA bus routes. Major roads nearby, including the Massachusetts Turnpike and Boylston Street, have played a starring role in bringing commerce and business to the Square.

Over time, the emergence of transportation hubs, beautiful natural landmarks including the Charles River and parks, and proximity to schools and colleges have made Copley Square an attractive destination for visitors and residents. In 1983, the Architects' Collaborative designed Copley Place, which is one of the Square's largest commercial centers. The renowned shopping mall belongs to a larger complex that includes offices, two hotels, and parking areas. The mall covers an area of 413,820 SF. Several additions have taken place to the center since its construction. Tenants include Barneys New York and Neiman Marcus. Its restaurants include Legal Sea Foods and Au Bon Pain. The Marriott at Copley Place and the Westin are the center's hotels.

In recent years, contemporary needs have blended with the area's history as Federal-style buildings, hotels, and magnificent mansions house residential and commercial tenants. In and around the Square, renters enjoy a unique mix of the Back Bay's beautiful historic brick and brownstone homes, which sit alongside modern skyscrapers and apartment buildings. Condominiums and apartment buildings have traditionally inhabited neighboring Boylston, St. James, Dartmouth, and Clarendon streets. Exeter Street has a number of luxury condominiums, and the Commonwealth Avenue Mall is just several blocks from Copley Square. The options for prospective renters and buyers in and near Copley Square include studio apartments, one-bedroom apartments, and larger rental units including luxurious three-bedroom penthouse suites. Condominiums are available for rent and purchase, and some feature highly desirable designated parking spaces, which have risen in demand as Boston's population and businesses expand into the area. The Back Bay's strong economy has sparked the rise of parking place rates and the price of rentals and property purchases.