City Hall Plaza renovation
Please note: As the project progresses, we will update this page with more information. You can learn about this exciting project and upcoming events below.
City Hall Plaza overview
When all phases of the renovation are complete, the plaza will be a prime venue to host a variety of civic and social events. It will also serve as a welcoming, everyday destination.
About the project
The seven-acre plaza is one of the City’s largest civic spaces. For the last 50 years, it has hosted events ranging from sports celebrations and political rallies to seasonal cultural festivals. Mayor Walsh is investing in City Hall Plaza. The goal is to move toward a more accessible, sustainable, and comfortable shared space for all Bostonians and visitors.
This project is currently under construction. The following agencies and organizations are leading the effort:
- the City’s Operations Cabinet
- the Public Facilities Department
- the Property Management Department (Maintenance)
- the Boston Planning and Development Agency (Property Owner)
- Sasaki, a global design firm based in the Boston area (Design Lead)
- Skanska USA, a global project development and construction group (City's Project Manager), and
- Shawmut, a national construction management leader (City’s Construction Manager)
This first phase of the project builds on the principles set forth by:
- the Rethink City Hall Master Planning Study, led by Utile and Reed Hilderbrand
- the historical legacy of the original design, and
- recent experiments on the plaza over the last five years. These include Boston Seasons, Lunch on the Lawn, the City Hall lobby renovation, and the exterior lighting installation.
The success of Boston Seasons on City Hall Plaza — including Boston Winter and The Patios — has shown the space’s potential. It has also shown the need for infrastructure improvements. We need system upgrades to sustain events of all sizes. These include improving accessibility and access to power, water, and data. We want to ensure long-term success for the City, event organizers, and vendors
Phase 1 of the project will deliver updated civic spaces and programming capabilities year-round. We will also add infrastructure that will make the Plaza more sustainable and user-friendly. Specific improvements include connecting Congress and Cambridge Streets with an accessible sloped promenade. The promenade will be activated by 21st century civic amenities, like:
- shady seating and gathering areas
- a destination play space
- public art space, and
- an iconic water feature.
Boston's renovated City Hall Plaza will become an accessible community space for residents of all abilities. Opening up the Plaza for all includes re-opening the North Entrance, which allows easier access to the second floor of the building to the public. This public-facing entrance was closed in 2001. It will open again under the new renovation plan. The renovation also includes:
- 3,000 new welcoming spaces for residents to sit
- 12,000 square feet of playscapes for children and families, and
- 11,000 square feet of terraces for pop-up play and interactive public art.
Boston City Hall Plaza renovation will right-size one of Boston's largest event spaces. We will create civic event spaces that can be used by all Boston residents. The renovation includes creating six new "plug and play" locations for community events. There will be space for 10,000 - 12,000 visitors on the main Plaza. The new design will also include:
- three smaller event and gathering places, and
- a new civic building on Congress Street. The building will be equipped with restrooms and other facilities to support public gatherings.
Creating a sustainable City Hall Plaza that meets the City's environmental goals is one of the key parts of the Plaza renovation. This renovation will make City Hall Plaza one of Boston's signature civic spaces environmentally sustainable. We’re meeting Boston's resilience standards. The renovation includes an increase in permeable surfaces that will soak up stormwater. Our goal is to plan ahead for severe weather in downtown Boston. The design also includes 100 new trees. These trees will improve the shade, scale, and air quality of the Plaza. Fifty lights will be replaced with efficient LED technology. We will also reuse and recycle 22,500 feet of granite and brick paving.