The Prudential Tower, also known as the Prudential Building or, colloquially, as The Pru, is a skyscraper in Boston, Massachusetts. The building, a part of the Prudential Center complex, currently stands as the 2nd-tallest building in Boston, behind the John Hancock Tower. The Prudential Tower was designed by Charles Luckman and Associates for Prudential Insurance. Completed in 1964, the building is 759 ft (229 m) tall, with 52 floors. It contains 1.2 million square feet (111,484 m²) of commercial and retail space. Including its radio mast, the tower stands as the tallest building in Boston and the 26th-tallest in the United States, rising to 907 feet (276 m) in height. A 50th floor observation deck, called the "Prudential Skywalk", is currently the highest observation deck in New England that is open to the public, as the higher observation deck of the John Hancock Tower has been closed (somewhat controversially) since the terror attacks of September 11, 2001.
The Prudential Tower began construction in 1960. Upon its completion in 1964, the Pru was the tallest building in the world outside of New York City, just barely surpassing the Terminal Tower in Cleveland, Ohio. It dwarfed the 1947 John Hancock building, seen at the left in the photo. This spurred the rival insurance company to build the 1975 John Hancock Tower, which is just slightly taller at 788 ft (240 m).
Today, the Pru is no longer even among the fifty tallest buildings in the USA when measuring to architectural height. Within Boston, in addition to the nearby John Hancock tower, many other tall buildings have since been built in Boston's financial district, including the 614 ft (187 m) Federal Reserve Bank. The Pru and John Hancock towers still dominate the Back Bay skyline, but other tall buildings have started arising there as well since the late 1990s, perhaps most notably 111 Huntington Avenue, which is also part of the Prudential Center.
In the 1999, 2003, 2004 and 2007 Major League Baseball playoffs, the building's tenants turned on and off their lights to spell out "GO SOX", providing a visual for Boston Red Sox fans at nearby Fenway Park.
Before the Prudential development, the site was a switch yard for the Boston and Albany Railroad. By 1965, a part of the negotiations for the Massachusetts Turnpike extension included the construction of the roadway below parts of the Prudential complex. The Prudential still has its own exit from the turnpike for this reason.
The new skyscraper at 111 Huntington Avenue was completed in 2002 and is directly across the street from the Colonnade Hotel located at 120 Huntington Avenue. The third tower of the Prudential Center is 101 Huntington Avenue; at a mere 25 stories, it is dwarfed by the other two.
The Hynes Convention Center is connected to the complex, which combined was considered the first mixed-use development in New England and awarded the Urban Land Institute's Best Mixed Use Development Award in 2006. By the fall of 2007 another major development will be completed along Boylston Street at the Prudential Center complex: the Mandarin Oriental, Boston hotel, now under construction.
The complex has direct indoor connections to two MBTA stops, Prudential and Back Bay. Prudential is on the Huntington Avenue side of the building directly outside the Colonnade Hotel, and is the first station on the Green Line "E" Branch after the split from the main line at Copley Square. Back Bay is a stop on the Orange Line and is accessible to the complex via the Copley Place Mall, to which it is attached by a walkway over Huntington Avenue. Back Bay is also served by Amtrak, including the Acela high-speed train. This means it is possible to travel from the observation lounge in the Pru to the top of the MetLife Building in New York City without going outdoors (by walking through the mall to Back Bay Station, hopping on Amtrak to Penn Station in New York, and taking the subway to Grand Central Terminal).
In addition, the Prudential Center serves as one of two starting locales for the Boston Duck Tours, a popular tourist attraction in the city.