Saturday, September 20, 2014

HBI to Acquire Mattapan Landmark

Fowler Clark Farm to be Repositioned for Housing and Urban Farming

HBI has arrived at an agreement with the estate of the late Ida Gertrude Epstein to acquire the 1786 Fowler Clark Farm, a designated Boston landmark in Mattapan. HBI plans to undertake the restoration of the 18th century farmhouse and 1860s carriage barn for residential and urban agricultural use. 

Located at the corner of Norfolk and Hosmer Streets, the Fowler-Clark farm dates to the period in which Mattapan was a village of the independent town of Dorchester.  The 30,000 square foot property is a rare surviving rural landscape amidst the densely built multi-family homes that came to dominate 20th century Mattapan. The house was built in 1786 on a 35-acre farm for Samuel Fowler whose descendents sold the property to Mary B. Clark in 1837 as a 12-acre parcel.  The Clark family held the property for more than 100 years and by 1895, when Dorchester had become part of Boston and electric streetcar lines, followed the lead of many Dorchester landowners and subdivided the roughly twelve acre estate into sixty-one house lots. The remaining property—under one acre – was sold to Jorge and Ida Epstein in 1941. Mrs. Epstein lived in the house until 2009.

Collectively, the house, carriage barn, and half acre of undeveloped land remain among the earliest, intact, vernacular examples of agrarian properties identified in Boston and other urban centers across the Commonwealth.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Act Fast...Rent the Last Apartment at the Kittredge House

We’re happy to announce that two families have moved into the Alvah Kittredge house, and we’ve already heard from one that they are really enjoying their new home.   Two more families will be moving in soon, but we still have one of the apartments available to rent.  We’re surprised it wasn’t the first to go, as it has a little more historic paneling than some of the others, as well as a great view of the column capitals and Boston skyline. 

We recently did a staged photo shoot with photographer Greg Premru (before any tenants moved in) and will be sharing the resulting photos soon, but here’s a sneak preview of two shots of the apartment that’s still available.  If you’re interested, contact Cornerstone Real Estate to see it in person:  617.238.7403.  The address of the house is 10 Linwood Street, Fort Hill, Roxbury.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Mayor Walsh, HBI, RVMS and Peregrine Group Break Ground on the Roslindale Substation

Another “patient preservation project” moves forward with the ground breaking for the redevelopment of the former MBTA Substation in Roslindale. Mayor Walsh joined members of the community along with the development partners, HBI, Roslindale Village Main Street, and Peregrine Group, to commemorate the start of construction on The Parkside on Adams, a mixed-use complex incorporating the historic former MBTA Substation’s redevelopment and 43 new residences, including six affordable units. The substation will become a restaurant with approximately 120 seats on the main level. The project will generate about 80 construction jobs in total, and the restaurant is expected to create about 30 permanent jobs. Property management and maintenance operations will also employ 3-5 full-time employees. 

Sunday, September 7, 2014

State picks a tame future for the former Charles River Speedway

HBI and Peregrine Group LLC were one of four finalists for redevelopment of the Charles River Speedway administration and stable buildings in Allston.  While we were not successful, we are very pleased to report that our friends at the Architectural Heritage Foundation (AHF), a non profit preservation developer here in Boston were selected.  It is very exciting see this building, which reflects so much of the early recreational history of the Charles River's edge, is being readied for housing, commercial and community activity.  Congratulations to AHF and to the Commonwealth's Department of Conservation and Recreation for moving this long-overlooked historic property toward a brighter future.  

Read the article on the Speedway in Boston Business Journal. 

Friday, August 29, 2014

Substantial Restoration Scheduled for Roxbury’s Eliot Burying Ground

HBI was very pleased to receive the news that the Eliot Burying Ground which lies next door to our headquarters at the Eustis Street Fire House, will receive a substantial grant from Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs to improve public access and amenities for the 1630 cemetery.  Kelly Thomas, who directs the City of Boston’s Parks and Recreation Department’s Historic Burying Ground program, is our guest blogger with the full story on what is coming at the burying ground.

The Historic Burying Grounds Initiative, part of the Boston Parks and Recreation Department, has received a grant from the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs Signature Urban Parks Program which will enable us to do some much need renovations at Eliot Burying Ground.

The current asphalt pathways are cracked and uneven, with vegetation growing through the gaps. We will replace the asphalt with concrete pavers, such as are used in the burying grounds on the Freedom Trail. The picket fence around the front perimeter of the site is in very poor condition with significant amounts of rust. We will restore this fence by removing the rust and repainting it. The areas of the fence that are too corroded to repair will be replaced by new parts. The front puddingstone wall is in good condition, but it will be repointed in order to ensure its continued structural stability. We will also be adding four interpretive signs which will provide historical information about the site and the people buried there.

The firm of Kyle Zick Landscape Architecture, Inc., is currently working on the design of this project. The construction will begin this fall and last for several months. This renovation work will nicely complement all the exciting work taking place in Dudley Square.

Embracing Historic Architecture in Building for the Future

We have enjoyed watching construction progress on the City of Boston’s new Boston Municipal Center in Dudley Square, led by Sasaki in conjunction with Mecanoo Architecten.  The project echoes many of the findings of a recent study completed by Victor Vizgaitis and Sasaki that underscores the meaning of historic architecture to Americans and, as Victor states, particularly to Bostonians. 

Recently, we at Sasaki Associates fielded a nationwide study of 1,000 people living in six major American cities to understand the state of their city experiences. Respondents hailed from San Francisco, Austin, Chicago, Washington D.C., New York, and Boston. With Boston’s plentitude of significant and beautiful, historic architecture, it is no surprise that Bostonians were the most interested, of any regional group, in historic buildings – 63% of Bostonians acknowledged that they “stop to admire buildings that are historic.” Given the local interest, it is especially important to give attention to planning, designing, and building in ways that preserve existing neighborhoods and buildings but also add to the future landscape. To do this, we must design in the context of the historical trajectory of Boston building. We must ask, how does this new construction extend the conversation and create a new history that builds on what came before?

Answering this question requires dialoguing with people who live in this city. We conducted this survey as part of a broader Sasaki effort to understand how people actually experience their environments. We design and build not just for the benefit of building owners or landlords, but also – and importantly – for the people who are going to use, experience, and inhabit these spaces every day.  It is not just about how much real estate value one can squeeze out of a parcel of land. It is this process of questioning and answering with all involved parties that makes for great environments that serve people and communities.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Roslindale Substation Development to Break Ground September 6th

On Saturday September 6th at 11:00 a.m. Mayor Martin J. Walsh will join HBI, Roslindale Village Main Street and project developer, Peregrine Group LLC for a public groundbreaking for Parkside on Adams, the new development in Roslindale that includes 43 new residential units, anchored by the restoration of the 1911 Roslindale Substation

When built in 1911 the Roslindale Substation functioned as part of the Boston Elevated Railway Company's then-revolutionary alternating electric current power system.  Designed by Robert S. Peabody of the Boston architectural firm of Peabody and Stearns, and built by the Stone and Webster Engineering Corporation, the Substation converted alternating electric current (AC) transmitted from a new South Boston Power Station via underground cables into direct current (DC) for use by local trolley cars.  Placement of a substation in Roslindale Square in 1911 reflects the area's growth as an urban neighborhood after annexation by the City of Boston in 1873.   Electric trolleys expanded to Roslindale in the 1890s, and construction of elevated railway stations at Dudley Square in 1901 and Forest Hills in 1906 only made this neighborhood more accessible to thicker settlement.

The Roslindale Substation, vacant since 1971, will become a destination restaurant by Chris Douglas of the Ashmont Grille and Tavolo in Dorchester.  The combined residential and commercial project, estimated to represent a $17 million investment, will transform the eastern edge of Roslindale Village.  HBI and Roslindale Village Main Street were designated by the Boston Redevelopment Authority in 2011 to examine feasible re-use scenarios for the former MBTA building.  The two non-profits pursued several re-use scenarios but the Higgins family’s decision to sell its funeral home and related land next door, changed their planning.  Roslindale Village Main Street and HBI pursued development partners to take on both the new construction and historic rehabilitation of the Substation and identified Rhode Island-based Peregrine Group.  

We hope you’ll join us on Saturday September 6th at 11 a.m. at 4236 Washington Street in Roslindale for a long-awaited celebration of renewal for the Substation and the Roslindale community