Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Year in Review


2011 has been a momentous year for HBI. From our physical move to Roxbury this summer, to our mobilization on several long term projects like the Hayden Building and the Kittredge House, to the acquisition of the Fairmount building in Hyde Park, we have been growing and responding to the development needs of Boston’s neighborhoods.  

In 2011 we added several more completed projects to our pipeline. These represent enormous hard work on the part of our team and the many groups and individuals who have worked with us to accomplish important goals. The Eustis Street Fire House, which is our new home here in Roxbury, and the Golden Building in Fields Corner were both transformed and have become beautiful additions to their individual urban neighborhoods. More importantly, their reactivation has reestablished them as valuable economic assets in their communities. The buildings are now housing retail spaces as well as office space for community organizations, like the Timothy Smith Network and the Dorchester Youth Collaborative.  We are very proud that, in our 51st year, we have completed two projects that so exemplify HBI’s mission.

But these two highlights are harbingers of more great projects in a pipeline that HBI continues to cultivate, with at least four projects slated to take wing in 2012. The 1870s Vertullo Building in Hyde Park will feature a dynamic redesign which includes rental housing and five improved store fronts. The 1875 Hayden building in Chinatown is beginning construction in February and will become four beautiful market rate rental apartments and a retail space. HBI has just completed the schematic design phase for the long overlooked Alvah Kittredge House (1836) in Roxbury. In Dorchester, the Anna Clapp Harris Smith House at 65 Pleasant Street is a house transformed, restored to its Federal period glory by the partnership of HBI and North Bennet Street School. 

At the turning of a new year, the work ahead doesn’t shade HBI’s past. Quite the opposite.  The Old Corner Bookstore, our first acquisition in 1960, is fully tenanted and continues to financially endow HBI’s operations while exemplifying the importance of the past in a growing city.  As home to Ticknor and Fields, the great 19th century publisher of many of America’s most notable authors, it also illustrates an important dimension of historic preservation: story.   Each of our projects enhances Boston, but also tells the many layers of Boston’s story. We seek out buildings that have physical needs that owners and developers cannot repair, but we also choose places that tell Boston’s unique history. Whether it be the story of Alvah Kittredge, a bootstrap farm boy from  New Hampshire who rose to fortune in Roxbury, or Anna Clapp Harris Smith, a woman who used her wealth and connections to better the lives of Boston’s four legged residents, or a young Malcolm Little, for whom Boston was backdrop to his personal transformation to Malcolm X , or the thousands of  immigrant stories embodied in story of Patsy Vertullo and his family at 74-84 Fairmount Avenue in Hyde Park, there is much to learn from the bricks and mortar of the common and extraordinary structures we preserve.

In 2012, we are looking forward to unveiling more of these stories in the completion of important bricks and mortar projects.  But for now, let us thank YOU and all those who made the past year such a success!  
Images designed by Joanne Kaliontzis
   

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