Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Save The Date! Join HBI on October 5th to Celebrate Our New Home in Dudley Square

One of the best things about moving to a new place is getting to know the neighborhood.  We are settling into our new headquarters and enjoying getting to know the very vibrant neighborhood of Dudley Square. This is a dynamic community with plenty of local pride and a lot of action:  everyone’s whispering about the City’s upcoming work at the Ferdinand Blue Store, Elder Services of Greater Boston is nearing completion of a brand new residential building, and venerable buildings like the Eustis Street Fire House , are once again being put to use. We’ve been discovering unique shops like Hamill Gallery of African Art and lunch venues like Haley House and meeting new friends along the way. 
We are eager to share this with the Dudley Square community and many of you who supported us through years of advocacy and a long and complicated development process.  Please join us for a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony and Open House on Wedensday, October 5th starting at 10:30 a.m.  We will show off the rehabilitated former fire house and showcase the neighboring Eliot Burying Ground which we will help the City manage going forward.  Both places have been off limits to the public for so long that many curious neighbors have been dropping in to learn more. 

Come celebrate and learn more about our new neighborhood on October 5th. Lunch will be served. Our special guests include Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino, local elected officials, our generous funders and many neighbors – old and new. 

Friday, August 26, 2011

You're invited: September 17th is Partners in Preservation Day

When thoughtfully applied, $1 million can go a long way toward restoring and preserving valuable histroic resources. The National Trust's Partners in Preservation will showcase just how much was done through a 2009 grant program during a special Open House on September 17th. Erin Doherty, who has been working with the group, explains more in this guest post. Doherty is entering her second year of Boston University’s Master’s program in historic preservation.

Two years ago, the Partners in Preservation (PiP) program arrived in Greater Boston, ultimately granting $1 million dollars to 25 Greater Boston-area historic sites. As an intern at the Northeast Office of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, I have been working with fourteen of these sites to organize an event inviting the public to see the work completed with their grant money. On September 17, these sites will be opening their doors with free admission to show off their restoration projects and the PiP program’s lasting impact.

The Old North Church
photos courtesy of Partners in Preservation
In 2009, the PiP competition, a collaboration between the National Trust for Historic Preservation and American Express, set off widespread public enthusiasm for restoring historic places across Greater Boston. Sites rallied for votes in the online voting portion of the competition, vying for first place and $100,000 in restoration funds. After the grants were awarded, however, it quickly became evident to the historic places involved that the effects of the program were far greater than any sum of money that could be awarded. The visibility that the program provided attracted not only additional dollars in donations but also a huge upswing in community support and changed attitudes toward preservation.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Survey shapes Chinatown's Hayden Building Renovation

Images by Cube Design + Research
HBI is in the midst of converting the Hayden building in Chinatown for residential use. This major project requires gutting and then rebuilding the inside of the stone structure. Like all residential developers, we have to make difficult decisions about which design features and amenities to include in the apartment units. Will renters prefer a gas fireplace or a stackable washer and dryer? Do people actually pay more for a 24 hour concierge? Is anyone going to use a workout room? Should the bedrooms be smaller to accommodate additional common living space? Will tenants pay more rent for a LEED certified building? Do people still like stainless steel appliances and granite countertops?

In the absence of an unlimited budget, both for profit and non profit residential developers have to make choices. All real estate development and preservation projects have a budget. Budgets are not an arbitrary nuisance but are instead based upon a project’s forecasted financial return, available resources and, in our case, an organizational mission to preserve Boston’s historic buildings.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Roslindale Substation Possibilities Revealed

 Historic Boston and Roslindale Village Main Streets (RVMS) have been charged with developing a feasible proposal to reuse a long-empty substation in Roslindale. In this post, Guest blogger Elizabeth Sherva, an RVMS board member and substation neighbor, provides an update on the project.

Renderings by Taylor & Burns Architects
My husband and I moved to Roslindale three years ago this September. One of the things that we loved about this area of Boston was the feeling of a small town in the middle of Boston. The heart of Roslindale is Adam’s Park and the surrounding business. It’s here in Roslindale Village that you can find the neighborhood branch library, the community center, your local bakery, a number of wonderful restaurants and unique stores. Adam’s Park is alive with the Farmer’s Market on Saturdays and a number of concerts and children’s activities during the week.

If you are a consistent reader to the HBI blog, you’ll know that Roslindale Village Main Streets (RVMS) and HBI have been working on a plan for the Roslindale Substation building that sits overlooking Adam’s Park. The community has long supported the reuse of the building and the two groups are now excited that they have a viable option for the space.

Monday, August 8, 2011

HBI Moves into "Torrent Six"

On Monday, August 1st, we packed up HBI’s School Street office of 50 years and moved into the Eustis Street Fire House. All things considered, the move went fairly smoothly, aside from a few problems with our phone and Internet connections.

When we arrived to unpack on Tuesday morning, we were greeted by Bing Broderick of Haley House Bakery CafĂ© welcoming us to the neighborhood with a delicious plate of muffins. A little later, we received a call from Boston Sign that our reproduction of the original fire house’s “Torrent Six” sign was ready to install.

As was tradition, the Eustis Street Fire House had been named Torrent Six after its hand-pumper engine, which was built by the Hunneman Company of Roxbury. The company’s founder, William C. Hunneman, had apprenticed under Paul Revere, and in 1802 he began his own business building high quality hand-forged fire engines.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Historic Boston has moved to Roxbury

Next stop: Downtown Noshing - The Boston Globe

The closing of the Borders bookstore has many lamenting the changes in downtown Boston. This Globe editorial highlights the positive things that are still happening in the area including the arrival of two new tenants in our Old Corner Bookstore building, Sweet, a cupcake shop that is already open, and Chipotle, which is coming soon.

Next stop: Downtown Noshing - The Boston Globe