Hancock Tower Observation Deck Still Closed 10 Years After 9/11

BOSTON (CBS) – The John Hancock Tower is an architectural triumph that dominates the Boston skyline.

Ten years ago, everyone was allowed to take in the view from the 60th floor, nearly 800 feet above the Back Bay. But since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the Hancock’s observation deck has been closed.

Check: 9/11 – 10 Years Later

In the immediate aftermath of the attacks, tall buildings all over the world went into high-security mode. Now, a decade later, the Hancock Tower remains off limits, even as buildings like the Empire State Building in New York City and the Prudential Tower right down the street re-opened to visitors.

WBZ-TV’s Jim Armstrong reports.

More than an inconvenience, the deck’s closure might break a promise.

City officials have long claimed that a public observation deck at the Hancock was part of a deal with the City of Boston to build the massive structure in the first place.

“That’s a rumor that’s been out there 15 years, I haven’t seen the document, and somebody, if they have the document, let me see it,” said Boston Mayor Tom Menino.

A spokeswoman for the Boston Redevelopment Authority told WBZ-TV they have looked for the paperwork that says the deck must be public, but that paperwork is missing.

“I’ve heard that whispered. I’ve never seen anything memorializing it,” said Meg Mainzer-Cohen of the Back Bay Association.

In a statement, the company that currently owns the Hancock, Boston Properties, gave their own explanation.

“The Observatory at the John Hancock Tower was closed after September 11 and converted to office space by the prior owner… [T]here are no plans to reopen the observatory,” said Boston Properties, in a statement.

“It was certainly a public benefit and one that we all enjoyed. But there are changes to our day-to-day lives based on what happened on 9/11,” said Mainzer-Cohen.

The current owners do occasionally rent out the 60th floor for private functions.

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