A young developer hopes to shake up the Boston development scene with this 38-foot-wide, 30-story tower

Architecture Development East
(Rafi Properties & Stantec)

(Rafi Properties & Stantec)

Rafi Properties is not your typical millennial-led startup. It’s not peddling some iPhone app or trying to become the Uber of [insert industry here]. Instead, Rafi is attempting to build a 30-story residential tower in Boston‘s Downtown Crossing. No small undertaking.

(Rafi Properties & Stantec)

(Rafi Properties)

The real estate startup is led by 25-year-old Collin Yip who holds a business degree from Boston University. The Boston Globe reported that Yip, who has renovated multiple buildings in the Boston area, has submitted a letter of intent to the Boston Redevelopment Authority to build a 305-foot-tall tower with the millennial-friendly name of “Canvas.”

With the development site only 38-feet wide, the Globe has compared Canvas to Manhattan’s many “pencil towers.” But that comparison likely won’t fly with New Yorkers as the building is more elongated than the super-thin supertalls rising in Midtown.

Pencil tower or not, Canvas has 94 residences, restaurants, and co-working office space. The glass and zinc tower was designed by the Boston-based ADD which has since been acquired by Stantec. As part of the project, Rafi will also be restoring the facade of the existing four-story building that the new tower will rise above.

“We are still refining the program on the first four floors but we are envisioning it being a center for the collaboration and appreciation of art, technology, unique food, and ideas,” said Yip in an email to AN. “Being able to design, build, and manage the property ourselves gives us the flexibility to build and run an integrated project that truly represents what it means to live and work in Boston.” Perhaps wanting to reassure skeptical parties that his young company can handle such a significant project, Yip added that Rafi is getting guidance from “veteran real estate development mentors/advisors, investors, and neighbors.”

Yip reportedly expects to fund the project with overseas investors including some of his family members. Rafi is confident that it can complete the tower by summer 2017.

[Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this piece misstated information about the building’s facade. It is glass and zinc, not glass and limestone.]

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