McDonald Electrical Hard at Work on History-Making South Station Tower and Transportation Hub Project


After more than 25 years in development, the transformation of Boston’s South Station is in full swing and already making history as one of the most ambitious construction projects in the city’s storied architectural history.


The South Station Air Rights Project has a storied history, dating back to the early 1960s. After the New Haven Railroad filed for bankruptcy. By the mid-1960s, the Boston Redevelopment Association (BRA) acquired the property, which was eventually sold to MBTA. However, the BRA retained ownership of the air rights for a larger redevelopment project, which began in early 2020. The funding and management of the project are being handled by a private development entity.


The scope of the project is staggering, starting with the Phase 1 construction of an iconic 51-story mixed-use tower, consisting of 25 floors, roughly 625,000 square feet, of prime office space, plus 16 floors of residential condominiums.


The tower is the first phase of a three-building airspace development above the existing South Station Transportation Center, which is undergoing a dramatic transformation of its own. The reimagined, high-traffic hub will provide direct access between the South Station rail terminal and bus terminal, a long-awaited convenience for the 600,000 commuters who travel the system daily. A 100,000-square-foot bus terminal expansion will increase traffic capacity by more than 50 percent. A transformed outdoor concourse area will increase in size by 67 percent and provide a spectacular new gateway to the city.


NECA Boston and IBEW member McDonald Electrical Corporation has all electrical aspects of the project including distribution, lighting, low voltage, life safety and security for the Tower project and new concourse which is just one piece of an extraordinary collaboration between public and private entities.. Hines, a global real estate management firm, is the tower developer. The rail tracks are owned by Amtrak, the bus terminal is the responsibility of the MBTA. Suffolk Construction is the general contractor.


Few challenges could be more daunting than the logistics involved in building on top of such an essential, high-traffic transportation hub, not to mention the high degree of coordination required to move the project forward while meeting the needs of all project partners, but the Hingham-based firm comes to the project well prepared.


Founded in 1999 by President Michael McDonald and Vice President Thomas Cooney, McDonald Electrical is one of the leading electrical contractors in the Northeast, delivering a comprehensive menu of high-voltage services for diverse projects across the region. Dave MacDonald is General Foreman on the project, supervising a team of 45.


The structure is designed by Pelli Clarke & Partners and includes extensive sustainable design features. Certified “green” credentials are anticipated across the board, including LEED Gold and WELL Gold certification, a BREEAM “Excellent” rating, a GRESB Green Star label, and an 86 Energy Star score.


There will also be amenities for both the office and residential components on the first tower floor above the office/mechanical space as well as on the residential sky lobby level. Phase 1 will include expansion of the existing parking structure for a total of four new parking levels.


The first tower is expected to be completed in February 2025 and open for business in Spring 2025. You can see a full overview of the project here.