Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Chrystal Kornegay Appointed Chief of DHCD by Governor-Elect Charlie Baker

Former HBI Board Member and current CEO and President of Urban Edge CDC, Chrystal Kornegay was named Undersecretary of the Department of Housing and Community Development for the Commonweath of Massachusetts in Governor-elect Charlie Baker’s administration.

Kornegay, who continues as a member of HBI’s Council of Advisors, will direct DHCD and its housing and community development policies and programs in partnership with municipalities across the state.

HBI congratulates Chrystal on her appointment.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

A Vessel for Joyful Singing; All Saints Ashmont Nears Complete Restoration

On Sunday, December 21st at 4 p.m. the Parish of All Saints Ashmont holds its annual Service of Nine Lessons & Carols for the Christmas season, an opportunity to hear the beautiful music of the parish’s 125-year-old Choir of Men & Boys. Guest blogger Jeffrey Gonyeau, former HBI staffer, member of the Men and Boys Choir, All Saints preservation project team member and resident of the Ashmont neighborhood, updates us on the restoration of Ralph Adams Cram’s 1892 masterpiece.

The 18-month construction project at All Saints, Ashmont, in Dorchester is hurtling toward completion. The frenzy of activity by the Consigli Construction team working toward the goal of completing as much work as possible by Christmas juxtaposes elements of work as diverse as touch-up painting, light-aiming, and kneeler reupholstering in the church, with installing bathroom fixtures, laying new quarry tile and reclaimed wood flooring in the Parish House addition, and striping the reconfigured parking lot.

On the one hand, it is easy at this point in a project to get bogged down with punchlists, last-minute problems, and delays caused by uncooperative weather—not to mention the fatigue induced by 18 months of noise, dust, and disruption.

UMass Boston archaeologists look below the surface at the oldest farmsteads in Mattapan and Iceland

The Fiske Center for Archeological Research at UMass Boston is performing a geophysical survey to identify any hidden and buried archaeological remains on the Fowler-Clark farmstead in Mattapan, potentially the oldest surviving farmstead in Boston. Our guest blogger is Dr. John Steinberg, who is leading the survey team.

Historic Boston Inc. commissioned the Mattapan geophysical survey as part of their vision to restore the two historic structures and maintain the pastoral setting of the Fowler-Clark farm. Today the 200-year-old farmstead sits on half an acre at Hosmer and Norfolk streets. It is not known exactly when the main farmhouse was built, but it appears on maps drawn between 1786 & 1806. The current stable dates from 1860, but there were potentially earlier versions. The UMass Boston team is hoping to find evidence of earlier stables and other outbuildings. We are using both ground penetrating radar and conductivity to attempt to identify any preserved deposits from the earlier phases of the farm, helping Historic Boston plan for preservation of the property.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

HBI Featured in Documentary on Preservation Revolving Funds

HBI was featured in a new documentary on non profit preservation revolving funds that premiered in November at the National Preservation Conference in Savannah.

Prepared in 2014 by graduate students at the Savannah College of Art and Design, for the 1772 Foundation and the National Trustfor Historic Preservation, the documentary flows from an economic impact study of twenty of the nation’s revolving funds. Click here to learn more.

New Pathways and Public Amenities in 1630 Eliot Burying Ground

Even as the cold sets in, the Boston Parks and Recreation Department’s Historic Burying Grounds Initiative has been proceeding with a important upgrades to the 17th century Eliot Burying Ground. Over the last several days, workers have been pulling up slabs and pieces of asphalt that are as much as forty years old.

This effort comes from a significant grant from the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs Signature Urban Parks Program to the City of Boston to make the historic site more accessible to the public. With these funds, the walkways will be replaced, the perimeter fence restored, and the puddingstone wall surrounding the site re-pointed.

The project also includes interpretive signage that will tell visitors the story of this site, its monuments and gravestone carvings, and the Roxbury families represented there since 1630. Both the pathways and signage designs are the work of KyleZick Landscape Architecture Inc.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

A Historic Boston Thanksgiving Recipe

For this year’s Thanksgiving week blog post, we thought it would be fun to offer a recipe or two. Historians tell us that wild turkey was indeed one of the many meats served at the first Thanksgiving (in addition to shellfish, venison, duck, goose, passenger pigeon, and possibly even swan). Research into historically accurate Thanksgiving dishes yields lots of recipes that are influenced by the feast of the early settlers, but adapted for modern cooks. But isn’t it more interesting to read about how the authentic dishes were cooked and served? While smaller birds were likely spit roasted, it’s believed that turkey was cut into pieces and boiled:

Place a turkey (cut up into pieces) in a large pot filled with cold water and some salt. Simmer for about an hour, skimming away the froth that rises to the top. Remove the turkey and let it cool, then boil the water until it’s reduced by half. Add to the stock some sliced onion, a bundle of herbs (sage, parsley, savory, thyme, etc.), some cider vinegar, some butter, sugar, and pepper. Cut up the turkey into smaller pieces and add it back to the stock. Serve with “sippets” (toasted bread).

If you are not inspired to boil your Thanksgiving turkey, perhaps you’ll consider roasting the bird with a traditional New England oyster stuffing. Take a pint or two (for a large bird) of fresh oysters and their liquor and chop them finely (or put them through a meat grinder as my mother did – not an appetizing sight). Tear up stuffing bread of your choice, add salt and pepper and some old bay seasoning mix and mix in the oysters with your hands until it feels like a good stuffing consistency. Add a little water if needed and stuff it in the bird (this is best done on Thanksgiving day – don’t make it and stuff it the day before or it can go terribly wrong and make you sick) or bake it in a separate dish (safer option and will result in some nice crusty bits).

Happy Thanksgiving!

HBI Teams up on Proposal to Redevelop Upham’s Corner Comfort Station

HBI and The American City Coalition (TACC) have teamed up on a proposal to the City of Boston Department of NeighborhoodDevelopment (DND) for a community-oriented redevelopment and reuse plan for the historic Comfort Station at 611 Columbia Road in Upham’s Corner -- adjacent to the Dorchester NorthBurying Ground, a Designated Boston Landmark and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

While preserving this important piece of historic architecture, HBI and TACC will partner with entrepreneur Noah Hicks, founder of Bowdoin Bike School in Dorchester, to undertake the repurposing of the Upham’s Corner Comfort Station as a full-service bicycle shop and café. Our proposal achieves three important objectives: it enhances the Upham’s Corner Main Street district by reactivating a long-abandoned building; it supports a new commercial venture for a local entrepreneur; and it expands employment opportunities, with an emphasis on skills training for neighborhood residents.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Archeology Part of Roxbury’s Parcel 8 Planning

In July, the Massachusetts House of Representatives passed House Bill No. 4363 which prepares the State-owned Parcel 8 in Roxbury for transfer to the Boston Redevelopment Authority and the city of Boston for disposition for development.  Among other things, the bill requires that an archeological survey be completed of the southeastern portion of Parcel 8 (once an edge to the colonial period Roxbury Neck) in order to understand what historical material lies beneath this area so transformed in the 1960s and 70s by the unsuccessful Inner City Belt Highway project.

That archeological work began and will end this week. It was commissioned by the property owner, the Commonwealth’s Department of Conservation and Recreation, and is being conducted by an archeological team from DCR and the University of Massachusetts’ Archeological Services program.  The team had done considerable base research using historic maps of the area over several periods of time, and designed a methodology for digging that would give them the most comprehensive subsurface views of the site. 

Friday, November 14, 2014

3D Laser Scanning Details Historic Fowler Clark Farm

HBI is grateful to Feldman Land Surveyors for providing pro-bono laser scans of the 1785 Fowler Clark Farm in Mattapan.  Stephen Wilkes of Feldman wrote this article to share how it’s done and why it’s so valuable to the preservation of historic buildings.

Constructed towards the end of the 18th Century, the present day Fowler Clark farm house, along with its later outbuildings, sits within a very different landscape from when it was built. Surrounded by today’s urban Mattapan, the farm house provides a special reminder of the earlier pastoral history of the area.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Roxbury's Kittredge House Gleams in Design New England

HBI's rehabilitation of the Alvah Kittredge House  is featured in the new November/December edition of Design New England in an article written by Maria Karagianis.   It features beautiful photographs of the new residential units by photographer Greg Premru, and highlights the extraordinary work of David and Sukie Amory of Amory Architects PC, our architects on the project. 

Sunday, November 2, 2014

With Gratitude, HBI Honors Mayor Thomas Menino (1942-2014)

Historic Boston Incorporated grieves the loss of former Mayor Thomas M. Menino, who passed away on Thursday.   We extend our deepest sympathy to his wife, Angela, and their family.

Mayor Menino was a champion of HBI’s work and provided the public leadership that made so many of our most challenging preservation projects -- and the dreams of so many of our communities -- possible.  He was our partner in restoring the forlorn Eustis Street Fire House as HBI’s headquarters, transforming the long-abandoned Alvah Kittredge House into new housing, turning the empty Roslindale Substation into an anchor for new development, and so much more. 

Mayor Menino co-chaired last year’s Trilogy Fund capital campaign and, when he left public office, joined HBI’s Council of Advisors.  We will miss his exuberance for Boston, his can-do attitude in the face of daunting prospects, and his commitment to doing what was best for Bostonians.  But we are most grateful for the legacy he leaves to us:  a stronger, more beautiful city that serves the needs of its people.

Read more on Mayor Menino’s preservation legacy.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Historic Substation Powers Roslindale's Future

Writer Matthew J. Kiefer is President of HBI and a partner at law firm of Goulston and Storrs. 

You sometimes find treasure in unlikely places.  An electric substation is not the first place you’d ordinarily look to help redefine a neighborhood, but the Roslindale Substation is special.  From the first time our board and staff walked through its monumental bronze doors into the industrial cathedral within, we couldn’t stop thinking about how to re-purpose this remarkable piece of orphaned infrastructure.

Electric trolleys transformed Roslindale from a rural village into a streetcar suburb after it was incorporated into the City of Boston in 1873.  Just as streetcars made Roslindale possible, electricity made streetcars possible.  The Roslindale Substation was one of several built by an MBTA ancestor to house equipment that converted alternating current into direct current to run the trains.

Designed by a prominent architect, Robert Peabody of Peabody and Stearns, and built in 1911, the Substation reflected the pride Bostonians took in the new machines and technology—sewer pump stations and waterworks are other examples—that helped turn a cluster of country towns into a manufacturing metropolis.

Transforming Dorchester North Burying Ground

It is All Hallow’s Eve this week and in honor of the true meaning of the occasion, guest blogger Kelly Thomas, Director of the Boston Parks and Recreation Department’s Historic Burying Grounds Initiative, updates us on the extraordinary preservation projects her program has been undertaking to restore and maintain Dorchester’s oldest burying place, in Upham’s Corner. 

The Dorchester North Burying Ground is Dorchester’s earliest remaining landmark. It is the burial place of some of Dorchester’s most prominent founding citizens. It is also one of seven seventeenth-century burying grounds in Boston. First laid out in 1633, it is the final resting place of two colonial governors William Stoughton, who was also Chief Justice during the Salem witch trials of 1692; and William Tailer. It also contains the graves of John Foster; the first printer in Boston; minister Richard Mather; 40 unknown Revolutionary War soldiers; and three African-American slaves.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Mayor Thomas M. Menino, 1942-2014

HBI honors the life of our Advisor, Mayor Thomas Menino, and extends heartfelt condolences to his family.

We are grieving, but deeply grateful for his unwavering support and service to our city.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Explore the Rich History of First Church Roxbury on November 16th

Clear your calendar and join the Unitarian Universalist Urban Ministry for a special afternoon at the historic First Church of Roxbury in John Eliot Square (10 Putnam Street). The program presents planning underway for an extensive rehabilitation to preserve the 1804 structure, Boston's oldest frame church and transform it into an active center of civic and cultural life in Roxbury.

Special guest speaker is Rev. F. Washington Jarvis, Roxbury Latin School Headmaster Emeritus, who will speak on the rich history of the congregation that first gathered there in 1632, helped establish Harvard College in 1636, and founded Roxbury Latin School in 1645.

Preservation expert and former HBI board member Andrea Gilmore of Building Conservation Associates, will discuss the larger historical context and the social and cultural importance of Meetinghouse structures in New England town life. 

Architect Don Mills of Mills Whitaker Architects, will discuss some of the results of his recent assessment of the building and the preservation opportunities presented by this elegant and well-preserved structure.
A festive reception will follow in Putnam Chapel, immediately adjacent to the Meetinghouse. Everyone is welcome. For more information about the event, please contact Annie Stubbs at or 617.318.6010 x205, or visit

Textizen at the Vertullo Building

Guest blogger Brian Goodman is Innovation and Systems Manager with the City of Boston’s Office of Business Development. 

The old joke says that a true local will define a space by what was once there, rather than what exists there now.  You've probably heard it before: "You know - the bakery, in the old Woolworth's building?"

Neighborhoods change.  The right use for a particular space changes; it's as dynamic as the community the space serves. But the retail mix in our neighborhoods can both shape and be shaped by its residents.

As it completes the rehabilitation of the historic Vertullo Building at 74-84 Fairmount Avenue, Historic Boston Incorported (HBI) and the City of Boston’s Office of Business Development are deploying Textizen, a web platform that collects SMS data from local residents to inform decision-making, to see what happens when shoppers in the Hyde Park Main Streets district have a voice in filling the available retail storefronts at Vertullo.

HBI has hung posters in the windows of the empty storefronts that direct shopper to text their preference for the type of retail uses they'd like to see fill one of three available spots. Voting is a simple as texting in your preference to a number shown on the poster.

This may benefit the retail leasing process in several ways:  residents can communicate their preference to the property owner (HBI); HBI can better target its outreach to potential tenants; HBI can support demand potential in talks with prospective lessees; and a new tenant will have an early lead list generated from the voters.

If the initial trials are successful, the City will be looking for ways to expand the model and use polling to create more visibility for other available commercial spaces in Boston’s neighborhood business districts.

If you live in Hyde Park, be sure to swing by the Vertullo Building and cast your vote, or view the poster below and cast your vote remotely.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Bringing the Brackets Back at Vertullo


Friday, October 10, 2014

New Information on the Life of Alvah Kittredge

Since HBI’s dedication of the Alvah Kittredge House in August, we’ve been regularly asked “Who was Alvah Kittredge?”  

Fort Hill resident and Roxbury Historic Society member Jason Turgeon recently sent us links to several on-line books published by Eliot Congregational Church’s prolific 19th century pastor-writer A.C. Thompson.  Among these are sermons preached at the funerals of Kittredge and his wife Mehitable.  But the third, Eliot Memorial Sketches Historical and Biographical of the Eliot Church and Society in Boston had a very nice summary of Deacon Kittredge’s life in Roxbury and is filled with many other interesting profiles of Roxberians of that era. 

Click here to see the book and read more.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Upham’s Corner Comfort Station – The Time has come for a Resurrection

The City of Boston has released a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the redevelopment of the 611 Columbia Road Comfort Station in Upham’s Corner. Located adjacent to the Dorchester North Burying Ground which is a Designated Boston Landmark and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the property is being offered through the Commercial Disposition Program administered by the Department of Neighborhood Development (DND).

The Comfort Station (a polite term for restrooms) is a one story stucco and tile Mission Style building that has been unused since 1977. Built in 1912, it was designed by architect William Besarick, who designed the Roger Clap School on Harvest Street and the municipal building at the corner of Columbia Road and Bird Street as well as many triple-deckers throughout the area. Besarick also designed the George Milliken House, at 44 Virginia Street, which is a Boston Landmark. 

Monday, September 29, 2014

Phase Two Under Way on Vertullo Building

Historic Boston is excited to report that the second phase of the Vertullo Building rehabilitation is now well under way.  Contractor Michael Mawn (MJ Mawn Inc) and architect Chris Brown (b Architecture Studio) did a terrific job transforming the building’s tired storefronts in Phase 1.  Now the exterior facelift continues above the storefronts with new roofing, new clapboard to replace the shingles, and new two over two windows with shutters.  Winter will soon be upon us, so Mike’s crew is scrambling to complete the job in the next two months.  If we’re lucky with the weather, the completed work will get a finish coat of paint before the holidays.

Although we’ve had strong interest in the commercial spaces, we do still have some storefronts available to rent.  If you’re interested, please call Certified Property Management at 617-738-6606  X 208.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Libations for Preservation, This Saturday, September, 27 at Grand Ten Distillery

The Young Advisors of the Boston Preservation Alliance present Libations for Preservation, a cocktail competition of historic proportions. This fun, social event will pit bartenders from the best neighborhood bars in Boston against each other to craft reinventions of historic cocktails. Your ticket gets you samples of every cocktail and, more importantly, voting rights! Support the Boston Preservation Alliance's educational programming by cheering on your local bartender. Light appetizers, live music, and a raffle will round out this exciting evening where YOU help determine Boston's Historic Cocktail Champion!

Grand Ten Distilling is a fully functioning urban distillery producing 9 craft spirits including Wire Works Gin, FirePuncher Vodka and Medford Rum. Built in the 1950s, this former iron foundry is home to a unique small batch copper still and craft spirit production area housed in one of the areas first storied manufacturing facilities.

Ticket for you: $50
Ticket for two: $90
Ticket plus a one-year membership to the Alliance: $75

Click HERE for more information, and to buy tickets

Questions: email

A Retrospective Look at the Preservation of the Kittredge House in Roxbury

Matthew Kiefer, President of HBI's Board of Directors and a partner at Goulston and Storrs, offers a retrospective look at the Alvah Kittredge House's path to preservation and the HBI model that re-activated the historic building, completed in August. (Photos by Craig Bailey and Greg Premru)

At HBI, we often say that we’re the developer of last resort; we take on the historic resources others won’t touch.  We sometimes say that we won’t do a project unless people tell us we’re crazy to even try.  One of our most challenging tasks as a board is to be bold enough to serve our mission without putting HBI’s future stability in jeopardy.  
We recently put this to the test yet again with the Alvah Kittredge House, which we re-dedicated on August 11th.  We took the deepest breath we’ve ever taken before embarking on this rescue mission; even people who know what we do cautioned us away.  In retrospect, I’m glad we didn’t listen.

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

Friday, August 15, 2014

A Joyful Evening on Linwood Street

Mayor Walsh said it best: “I’m proud of the Alvah Kittredge House because this iconic but long vacant property is an investment that creates housing for the future while respecting the building’s storied past.”

While the past was clearly present on the evening of August 11th at 10 Linwood Street, the dedication, open house and picnic in Alvah Kittredge Square Park were festive reminders of how important the newly restored house is to the Highland Park community today.  

Monday, August 11, 2014

Things are Heating up in Roslindale

Whoever said “patience pays off in the end” must have been thinking of the redevelopment of the Roslindale Substation. The stars are finally aligning for historic preservation work to begin on the Substation with the final designation from the BRA anticipated to occur this month paving the way for work to begin this autumn. Along with masonry restoration, the monumental copper clad doors facing Adams Park will be restored and new windows will once again open the building interior to light and views to Adams Park; making it a perfect location for the destination restaurant being planned by Chris Douglass known for the Ashmont Grille and Tavolo in Dorchester

Redeveloping the Roslindale Substation was made possible in great part, by purchasing the adjacent Higgins Funeral Home site and leveraging it to attract Peregrine Group as a development partner along with HBI and Roslindale Village Main Street. Both the Substation and the adjacent Higgins’s site are being developed in tandem with construction of the Parkside on Adams, the residential component, beginning soon.  To that end, demolition of the adjacent Higgins Funeral Home is currently underway to make way for the residential piece of the development. It’s great to see work on the site finally happening -- another “patient preservation project” moving forward. 

The official ground breaking for the development is scheduled for 11 AM Saturday, September 6th. Stay tuned for further development news as construction progresses.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Mayor Walsh Signs onto National Petition to save the Federal Historic Tax Credit

BOSTON – Mayor Martin J. Walsh has signed the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s petition to save the federal historic tax credit. This tax incentive is responsible for encouraging billions of private dollars to be invested into historic, income producing properties and has long been a proactive tool for developers and individuals who wish to restore historic structures throughout the city. 

Read the Rest of the Press Release

Dress With Confidence Opens in the Vertullo Building

Mayor Martin J. Walsh was on hand Saturday to cut the ribbon on Dress With Confidence, a new shop at the historic Vertullo Building at 84 Fairmount Avenue in Hyde Park.   Owner Yolanda John, a native of Barbados, has training in fashion design and accounting and has been tailoring and making custom clothing from her home in Dorchester.  At this shop, she’ll sell handmade clothing and custom designs, and jewelry made with semi-precious stones. 

There is new momentum in the Hyde Park Main Street district and that was underscored Saturday by Mayor Walsh’s stops-in at several new businesses including a ribbon cutting at the Briar Rose on Hyde Park Avenue.  He even got a preview of a new restaurant-to-be-named-later, under construction at 11 Fairmount Avenue in the space formerly occupied by The Hyde and Dottie’s. 
HBI is embarking on Phase 2 of the Vertullo Building rehabilitation, but we are both happy and grateful that entrepreneurs like Yolanda are our partners in activating one of Hyde Park’s earliest commercial structures.