A big building. About the pike. For the first time in a long time.


The rumble of passing traffic becomes a rumble as you enter Lot 12 – a two-building complex of office, laboratory and hotel space being built on a terrace above the Massachusetts Turnpike at the entrance to Back Bay.

And on Tuesday, for the first time, a crowd got close enough to hear it.

That’s if rightReal estate development firm Samuels & Associates celebrated bridging the Massachusetts Turnpike at Parcel 12, which not only spans an eight lane highway but also an active MBTA Green Line and railroad tracks. Construction company Suffolk and its subcontractors have laid more than 520 tons of steel and precast concrete planks across the Pike, laying the foundation for a project that will house the global headquarters of car buying website CarGurus Inc., a CitizenM hotel and a public plaza overlooking the highway. The project is scheduled to open next year.

“If we’re talking about infrastructure, I just want to say: You all know that we’re standing over a freeway? This is an incredible achievement,” said Segun Idowu, City Director for Economic Opportunity and Inclusion. “I’m standing over here and I’m like, ‘Wow! That’s great!’ When we hear the cars driving back and forth.”

Mayor Michelle Wu is “excited about this special project,” Idowu said, given the partnership it will take between private developers and city and state transportation officials to build the first large-scale air rights project over active rail lines and eight lanes of the Pike in decades. The project includes improved sidewalks, bike lanes and public transportation on a congested section of the Mass. Ave., including a new entrance to the MBTA Green Line, a pedestrian tunnel to the Hynes Convention Center and a redesigned bus shelter.

The Parcel 12 project is one of several so-called “Air Rights” projects currently underway in Boston, including nearby Parcel 7, where life sciences development company IQHQ and local developer Meredith Management are building a $1 Billion dollars above the Pike are building nearby Fenway Park and WS Development in the Seaport’s 400 Summer St., which rises above a mostly underground section of the highway.

The construction of Parcel 12 is “an incredible engineering feat” that “lays the groundwork for … new economic opportunities, public transit improvements, and infrastructure upgrades that will benefit the surrounding neighborhood.” Governor Charlie Baker said in a statement.

For CarGurus CEO Jason Trevisan, the company’s future headquarters in Parcel 12 is a testament to his belief in Boston — and reflects his optimism about the city. The Cambridge based car buying and car research website The company first signed a lease for the Parcel 12 site in late 2019, just before the COVID-19 pandemic. Last year, CarGurus slightly reduced its footprint to 225,428 square feet, while Samuels obtained city approval to move nearly 120,000 remaining square feet of the office building into convert laboratory space.

CarGurus employs about 800 people locally and plans to increase that headcount, Trevisan said.

“In a hybrid environment where employees are more likely to be working from home, we need to create an attraction for our office,” said Trevisan. “We think that’s the case, and that will be a key enabler for a hybrid environment to thrive.”

A plaza above the Massachusetts Turnpike is part of a large development that is on the west side of Massachusetts Ave. between Newbury Street and Boylston Street.Elcus Manfredi

Catherine Carlock can be reached at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @bycathcarlock.


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