Saving the Speedway; An 'unconventional' developer sought for historic Brighton site
By Greg Turner
Monday, February 27, 2012
The Charles River Speedway headquarters, a decaying symbol of Brighton’s harness racing heyday, appears unlikely to attract a private buyer willing to pony up the nearly $3 million that’s needed to restore the turn-of-the-20th-century structure, state officials have concluded.
This week, we are proud to have Sukie Amory as our Guest Blogger. Ms. Amory and her husband David are the co-founders of Amory Architects, an architecture firm based here in Boston. HBI has had a long and fruitful relationship with the Amorys. Most recently, they have completed designs for the Golden Building, in Dorchester, and the Alvah Kittredge Row Houses, in Roxbury's Highland Park neighborhood, and they are currently working on plans for the Alvah Kittredge House. Ms. Amory is the financial manager for the firm. However, she is also a designer, and is renowned for her work in landscape design. Growing up in Chicago, Ms. Amory experienced an early acquaintance with historic preservation, and was able to understand from this, the power of place and memory, and how they relate to our sense of justice.
Recent HBI blogs have stirred some powerful memories for me. Here I am, skipping ahead of my mother as we round the corner from our apartment in Chicago to join a neighborhood protest against the imminent razing of the Robie House. This kindergartner loved Frank Lloyd Wright’s renowned Prairie Style masterpiece as “The Walking House”, whose long low walls beneath elegant cantilevered roofs were our personal jungle gym and tightrope. In March 1957 the Chicago Theological Seminary dusted off earlier plans to build dorms on the site, announcing demolition in September and igniting international protests – at 90 years old, the great man himself travelled to the house to rally support, quipping that “It all goes to show the danger of entrusting anything spiritual to the clergy.” Even at that young age I remember the air of thrilling satisfaction in the neighborhood when we prevailed – in 1957 the new Commission on Chicago Landmarks named my “Walking House” the first Chicago Landmark, and in 1963 the National Register certified it as the first national landmark selected solely on the basis of its architectural merit.
The Boston Redevelopment Authority designated the partnership of Historic Boston Inc. and RoslindaleVillage Main Streetfor development of the 1911 Roslindale Substationlast night. Our two non-profit organizations have worked on development planning over the last year under an Interim Designation from the BRA and arrived at feasible proposal for year-round farmer’s market and function hall. Here’s the article in Universal Hub:
Many strands of HBI’s efforts at the Malcolm X/Ella Little Collins House in Roxburycame together this week. We signed an 18-month agreement with the owner, Rodnell Collins, for exclusive representation of his interests in identifying a feasible and sustainable way to rehabilitate the house, and in identifying future users and the funding to carry out necessary repairs.
We also received exciting news from the 1772 Foundation in Connecticutthat HBI was awarded a grant of $50,000 to support project planning and capital investment. This is the first grant to HBI for this site where we expect full rehabilitation and re-activation will require between $500,000 and $750,000 to complete. We are so grateful for this wonderful news from a foundation that is both interested in African-American historic places and bricks and mortar preservation.
HBI seeks a dynamic and experienced real estate professional to serve as Director of Real Estate Development and lead development activities for the organization. Reporting directly to, and working closely with HBI’s Executive Director, this position will direct all real estate development work for the organization and manage a talented team of project managers. Responsibilities include strategically driving the direction of HBI’s development activities as well as providing day to day management of staff and projects with regard to identification of properties, finance, construction and the selling or leasing of properties. This position requires strong real estate knowledge, exceptional financial analysis skills, and a genuine commitment to the mission of rehabilitating historic buildings in Boston’s neighborhoods as a strategy for community revitalization.
As expected, on February 8, 2012, the Boston Zoning Commission adopted a new zoning article for Hyde Park. The long and boisterous community process—which was described in a previous HBI blog post and in Jeremy Fox’s continued excellent reporting for boston.com—surfaced some differences of opinion in the neighborhood about what the character of the neighborhood should be.
The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) will host a Public Meeting on Monday, February 27th, 2012 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. to present a Draft Feasibility Report on the Future Reuse Options for the Charles River Speedway Buildings. The meeting takes place at the Honan-Allston Branch Library Auditorium, 300 North Harvard Street in Allston.
DCR and Historic Boston partnered last year on a feasibility study for reuse options for the Charles River Speedway Building, including an updated conditions assessment, market analysis, preparation of cost estimates and conceptual renderings for redevelopment options. The report will guide DCR’s future decision making regarding reuse and preservation for the Speedway, one of the agency’s most historically significant structures.
This meeting follows on a community charette hosted by the Boston Preservation Alliance in the spring of 2011. Community feedback at this public meeting will be factored into the release of the final report in March of 2012.
If you have questions about the public meeting, please contact DCR at DCR.email@example.com or call 617 626 4974.
On January 12th, the Boston Redevelopment Authority voted to approve a new zoning article for Hyde Park, acting on recommendations put forth in a Strategic Plan created over a period of more than two years. The process was led by BRA planners and a consultant team headed by Crosby, Schlesinger, Smallridge and which included also HBI. A neighborhood advisory group led the initiative on the neighborhood’s side, through a series of several community meetings and presentations.
Extra! Extra! Read All About It! The Everett Square Theatre made the papers last month, in celebration of its new sign and epic restoration.
Historic Theatre Gets New Hope
In Hyde Park, A Long-Closed Venue Gains Supporters
By Robert Preer, Globe Correspondent, December 31, 2011
HYDE PARK - Since late November, a sign for the Everett Square Theatre has been shining brightly over Fairmount Avenue in Hyde Park. With its bare incandescent bulbs, the handmade replica of the original 1915 sign evokes an era when Broadway got its “Great White Way’’ nickname.
HBI is building its capacity to raise funds for worthy preservation projects. We are looking for a talented individual with solid experience in grants cultivation, solicitations, and tracking to join our team and lead these efforts:
Historic Boston Incorporated redevelops historic properties to make urban neighborhoods thrive. We believe that reusing old places to meet current needs enriches our communities and restores neighborhood pride.
To learn more about our mission and our ongoing projects, please visit our website, check this blog, and flip through our Flickr photo albums for frequent updates. To sign up to receive updated news from Historic Boston, please visit this page to enter your contact information.