Thursday, July 2, 2015

New Faces at HBI



Maddie Grant
HBI welcomes two new people to HBI this summer.  

Maddie Grant, a recent graduate of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, joins HBI as Office Manager.  Maddie is a native of Scituate and studied English and Political Science at UMass where she was also a writing tutor at UMass’ Writing Center and on the student leadership team and Commonwealth Honors College.  Maddie brings strength in writing and communications to HBI as well as a keen interest in public policy.  In addition to managing HBI’s office operations, she will be responsible for HBI’s social media platforms.  

Rebecca Gourlay is an intern with HBI this summer, courtesy of the Corcoran Center for Real Estate and Urban Action’s summer fellowship program at Boston College.  She is a rising junior at BC where she is majoring in Environmental Studies with a focus on food and water sustainability.  Her work on an urban farm in her home town of Buffalo is bringing valuable insights to HBI’s planning around HBI’s planning for the Fowler-Clark-Epstein Farm in Mattapan this summer.  Rebecca will be with HBI through August. 

We are very fortunate to have two very talented new additions to HBI this summer.  Please join us in welcoming Maddie and Rebecca. 

Rebecca Gourlay

Friday, June 26, 2015

Preparing Historic Buildings to Withstand New Weather Impacts


Guest blogger Susan Pranger is an architect and Boston resident. The following blog post summarizes the study she recently completed as her capstone project at the Boston Architectural College for a master of design studies (MDS) in sustainable design. The buildings at HBI’s prospective project at 1786 Fowler Clark Farm in Mattapan were among those Susan used to model some of her recommendations for preparing historic structures to withstand the impacts of new weather associated with temperature changes.

Now is the time to prepare for the impacts of Global Warming on historic buildings. It is no longer sufficient to focus only on reducing energy consumption and related emissions; we must also prepare for the inevitable impacts.

The general consensus among scientists is that Global Warming is already happening and is irreversible, although the rate of change and the severity will depend on our actions to reduce emissions. The risk of severe storms, changes in habitat, and both local and global changes will increase with the rise with the global temperature. 

Changes in sea level, temperature, and solar radiation (UVB) may be occurring gradually, but their impact on weather patterns is complex and can occur suddenly. This past winter’s record snowfall in New England and the related ice dam damage has possible roots in global warming:

Warmer air is capable of holding more moisture- so a generally warmer atmosphere will hold more precipitation, even in the winter. As with heat waves, the frequency of such events are generally decreasing, but their intensity is increasing (as shown by the devastating blizzards in February 2010 in the mid-Atlantic region)” (Climate Institute n.d.)

Monday, June 22, 2015

HBI’s Council of Advisors Gathers in the Roslindale Substation


This week, HBI’s Council of Advisors gathered for their spring meeting in Roslindale for to see the 1911 Roslindale Substation and explore the topic of urban entrepreneurship and revitalization with former State Treasurer Steve Grossman.

Restoration of the historic substation will begin this month by Peregrine Group LLC, developers of the mixed-use Parkside on Adams, a 43-unit apartment complex with destination restaurant in the Substation, operated by restaurateur Chris Douglass. Both Douglass and Peregrine’s principals Jordan Stone and Bev Gallo were present to welcome HBI’s visitors and explain their plans for the historic substation. They were joined by Bryan Reeves, Roslindale resident and operator of Craft Beer Cellar, a craft beer retail operation that will locate in the lower level of the Roslindale Substation after it is rehabilitated.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Eastern Bank Supports Mattapan’s Fowler Clark Epstein Farm


HBI is pleased to have received a $10,000 grant from the Eastern Bank Charitable Foundation for pre-development planning at the 1786 Fowler Clark Epstein Farm in Mattapan. HBI executed a purchase and sale agreement with the Epstein family trust in October of 2014 and will finalize purchase next week.

The Foundation’s grant is supporting architecture, engineering and financial analyses for preservation of the threatened historic farmhouse, 1860s barn and landscape for a combined housing and urban farming program. The property, once the center of a 330 acre colonial farmstead, is today about 30,000 square feet of land. The house and barn have never been moved and are collectively protected as a designated Boston Landmark.

An important financial partner to HBI and its projects, Eastern Bank has helped finance the Hayden Building in Chinatown and the Alvah Kittredge House in Roxbury. The Eastern Bank Charitable Foundation has been a generous donor to the organization’s many projects.

Eastern Bank was founded in 1818 and is the oldest mutual bank in the country. In 2015, the bank’s foundation will donate approximately $6.4 million to many organizations across eastern Massachusetts and southern and coastal New Hampshire.

HBI is grateful to Eastern Bank for helping HBI strengthen Boston’s neighborhoods through historic preservation.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Historic Boston and the American Cities Coalition Named to Redevelop Historic Comfort Station in Dorchester


Rendering by Utile, Inc. Architecture + Planning

The City of Boston Department of Neighborhood Development has tentatively designated the redevelopment of the historicUpham’s Corner Comfort Station in Dorchester to the partnership of Historic Boston Inc. and The American City Coalition.



Historic Boston Inc. (HBI) and The American City Coalition (TACC) are working with Noah Hicks, founder of Dorchester’s Bowdoin Bike School, to repurpose the existing Comfort Station into The Bike Kitchen, a full-service bicycle shop and café, creating a sustainable future for this neglected and important historic structure.

The redevelopment of this building will continue the positive economic development in Upham’s Corner and reflects the objectives of both nonprofit organizations to strengthen the Upham’s Corner business district through their combined expertise in real estate development, historic preservation, and economic development.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

HBI Receives Mass. Historical Commission Award for Kittredge House




Massachusetts Secretary of State, William Galvin was on hand Friday May 19th as HBI was honored with one of Massachusetts Historical Commission’s (MHC) 37th Annual Preservation Awards for the $3.8 million rehabilitation of the Alvah Kittredge House in Roxbury.

One of 9 project recipients this year, the Kittredge House is one of three Boston projects to receive an award. The other two are the Clapp Family Barn in Dorchester and the new headquarters for North Bennet Street School in the North End.

Other recipients for rehabilitation and restoration from throughout the Commonwealth include the Lord Jeffrey Inn in Amherst, the Station Lofts in Brockton, the Ames Shovel Works in Easton, the Old Ship Meetinghouse in Hingham, the Academy of Music Theatre in Northampton and the Caring Health Center in the Smith Carriage Company in Springfield.
Two individuals were honored this year. Betsy Douglas of Leverett was given an award for her achievements in local preservation, and Dr. Adelaide Cromwell received the MHC’s Individual Liftime Achievement Award.

HBI is grateful to the MHC and Secretary Galvin for their acknowledgement of the Kittredge House project, and for their direct support of that project through the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Tax Credit Program.  

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Preservation Month Celebrated with Tour of Roslindale Substation

Bryan Reeves of Craft Beer Cellar and Chris Douglass
Boston Landmarks 
Commission Executive 
Director Roseanne Foley
National Historic Preservation Month is an annual celebration designed to raise awareness about the power historic preservation has to protect and enhance our historic communities. Preservation Month was established by the National Trust for Historic Preservation and is organized locally by the Boston Landmarks Commission. This year, Historic Boston along with our partners Peregrine Group LLC and Roslindale Village Main Streets, was happy to participate in Preservation Month by hosting a tour of the Roslindale Substation, which will begin construction in June. About 50 visitors stopped by the Substation to see inside of the building and learn about its history, planning process for its rehabilitation, and future uses.

The Roslindale Substation was built in 1911 for the Boston Elevated Railway Company as an electrical power conversion and transmission station. Designed in the Neo-Classical Revival style by Stone and Webster Engineering Company and architect RobertS. Peabody, the Substation converted alternating electric current (AC) transmitted from a South Boston Power Station via underground cables into direct current (DC) for use by local trolley cars. Revolutionary technology for the day, this system generated and distributed power at lower costs.

After sitting vacant for over 40 years, the rehabilitation of the Roslindale Substation is expected to take about a year to complete and will house a destination restaurant by Chef Chris Douglass, who owns Tavolo and the Ashmont Grill, on the main floor and Craft Beer Cellar, a retail beer store dedicated to promoting American craft beers, on the lower level. Craft Beer Cellar is anticipated to open in the fall, while the restaurant will open next spring.

Former RVMS board member Steve Gag and current board president Jennifer Madar 
talk with HBI’s Jeff Morgan and a guest