Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Kittredge House Update

It's been awhile since we reported on the status of HBI’s  progress toward rehabilitating the 1836 Alvah Kittredge House, so an update is in order.  From the outside of the building it might appear that nothing is happening, but solid progress in the quiet phase of predevelopment is being made. 

Over the last several months, HBI has worked closely with Amory Architects to design five new apartments that combine the elegance of the original Greek Revival design with modern amenities.  We are very excited by the plans and are eager to begin construction.  However, cost estimates for the work are sobering.  What began as a project that had a manageable financing gap, has turned into a considerably more expensive project that will require a lot of fundraising by Historic Boston to preserve.

The house’s deteriorated state from years of weather exposure and neglect is considerably more significant than originally understood.  The monumental columns that still exist will all need significant restoration work, and two columns are missing entirely so will need to be recreated to match the originals.  This work alone is expected to cost well over $100,000.  There are no mechanical, electrical or plumbing systems in the building, and the floors and plaster are damaged beyond repair, so will require replacement.  Lead paint covers the surfaces of the historic woodwork, so will need to be removed.  And this week we have begun to abate the building of asbestos materials.

Celebrating Independence Day on the USS Constitution

Photo source:  U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class David P. Coleman,  released via www.history.navy.mil/ussconstitution

Blog post by HBI's new Director of Real Estate Development, Jeffrey Morgan 

What did you do for the Fourth of July this year? I was one of 499 guests aboard the USS Constitution, America’s Ship of State, for its annual turnaround cruise as part of Boston Navy Week. The eight-day event commemorated the Bicentennial of the War of 1812 by hosting service members from the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard along with ships from around the world. How did I get aboard? I was one of 150 civilian winners of the US Navy annual lottery drawing.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Mayor Menino Hosts Kittredge Park Opening

Mayor Thomas M. Menino joined the residents of Highland Park in unveiling the new Alvah Kittredge Park on Saturday, July 28th. The newly renovated park, located opposite HBI’s project at the historic Alvah Kittredge House at 10 Linwood Street, includes new walkways, granite walls, and other features such as historic lighting, tables, benches, new shade and flowering trees, a grass lawn, and a rain garden with native plants.  The parks is also the front yard of the Alvah Kittredge Park Rowhouses, an HBI project completed in 2001.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Keep up with the Hayden Building

Historic Boston’s completion of H.H. Richardson’s Hayden Building is moving along nicely, with construction completion scheduled for early 2013.  Each of the upper four floors will contain one very special apartment (available to reserve), with commercial retail space on the ground floor. HBI decided the best way to show and tell the story of the Hayden Building – current news, its varied history, and the latest renderings of its future look - was to launch a dedicated web site.  We enlisted our talented architects at CUBE Designand Research, who brought the Hayden Building into the 21st century with their modern redesign, to also design the website. Check it out at http://thehaydenbuilding.com/

Friday, July 13, 2012

Keep up with Stacey Cordeiro and 65 Pleasant Street on her new blog

Stacey Cordeiro, the new owner of the Anna Clapp Harris Smith House at 65 Pleasant Street, has started a blog! This first time home buyer is undertaking the project of a lifetime, working to transform her new-old house into a home. Stacey is currently the business manager for  Living Structures, Inc. small residential remodeling contractor, which focuses on energy efficiency and sustainable building. She is also a trained carpenter, and energy consultant, who is passionate about taking on this project, and doing the renovation herself. The work at 65 Pleasant Street is now in full swing, and due to popular interest, she is now documenting it on her new blog. The blog, http://thehandmadehouse.wordpress.com went up recently, but it is already packed with great images and updates. Congratulations Stacey! We look forward to seeing the great work that you are doing!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Historic Blackstone Block Connects Contemporary Boston

Blackstone Block circa 1722*
Historic Boston board member, Emily Axelrod, a planner by training and former director of the Rudy Bruner Foundation, has been inquiring about Boston’s Blackstone Block, a hidden gem in downtown Boston between Government Center and the North End. She contributes some thoughts here on the role historic places like these can play in the ever-changing city.

We often think of historic preservation in terms of Boston’s treasure trove of historic buildings located throughout Boston’s neighborhoods. But important historic places can take the form of landscapes and infrastructure, which though often overlooked, can play a key role in the city’s future and sense of place.   

The Blackstone Block, one of Boston’s most treasured historic resources, sits at the nexus of both historic and new development activity. A stone’s throw from City Hall, Blackstone faces Union Street and the Holocaust Memorial, houses the Union Oyster House, a well-loved dining destination. On the east it is adjacent to Faneuil Hall and Quincy Marketplace, and on the North it abuts the Parcel 7 garage where the Boston Public Market is about to open on the ground floor. On the East is the historic Haymarket, and the Rose Kennedy Greenway, and between Blackstone and the Greenway is Parcel 9, soon to be designated as a major development site. The Blackstone Block is a Boston Landmark, protected for its intact historic street pattern, not the buildings within it.

A Different Way to See the Freedom Trail

On July 4th, thousands of visitors to Boston explore downtown Boston’s historic places including the Freedom Trail.  This 2.5 mile long, 16-historic site experience is loaded with wonderful stories of revolutionary spirit, sacrifice, and ingenuity that are fun and interesting. 

It’s also a pretty long walk and a lot of time, so we’re sharing the video of a pretty wonderful pop-up book, developed by Denise Price.  The Freedom Trail pop up book may not be one you can find in bookstores, but you can see the full run-through here:

HBI’s Old Corner Bookstore, also a site on the trail, is at 44 seconds.