Friday, February 28, 2014

Federal Historic Tax Credits in Jeopardy in House Tax Reform Proposal

Preservationists and Rep. Blumenauer Urge Chairman Camp to Keep Historic Tax Credit in Reformed Tax Code

Posted February 26, 2014

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) released a discussion draft today of his vision for comprehensive tax reform, and it eliminates the federal historic tax credit. The following are statements from the NationalTrust for Historic Preservation, the Historic Tax Credit Coalition and Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.).

Stephanie K. Meeks, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation: 

The National Trust is deeply concerned by the repeal of the federal historic tax credit in Chairman Camp’s discussion draft. Though we appreciate the difficult task of reforming our nation’s tax code, it should not come at the cost of a program that creates local jobs and preserves our nation’s historic properties, while enriching our communities and building a lasting relationship with our past.  The federal historic tax credit has done more for the revitalization of America’s historic downtowns and districts than any other preservation tool.  

HBI's Eustis Street Fire House Featured in PreservationNation Blog

From Fire House to Office Space: Boston's Eustis Street Fire House
Posted on: February 27, 2014
By: Lauren Walser 

When your office is located in an old firehouse, chances are you’re going to get a lot of questions about the fire pole.

Sadly, Kathy Kottaridis, executive director of Historic Boston, Inc., must inform those curious about her nonprofit organization’s new office that the original fire pole in the 1859 Eustis Street Fire House is long gone.

But pole or no pole, the firehouse -- the oldest remaining firehouse in Boston -- is today a vibrant 21st-century office space, thanks to the efforts of Historic Boston, Inc., a preservation group that fully restored the structure back in 2011.

It was a monumental undertaking, but one that Kottaridis says demonstrates the organization’s mission and its commitment to preserving the city’s historic buildings.

Save the Date: Alliance Forum 2014 on Thursday, March 20th

Nathaniel Philbrick to Speak at Shirley Eustis House

Friday, February 21, 2014

How to Create a Preservation Restriction: A Primer

Historic Boston manages several Preservation Easements on properties around the city, and we have found that there is a great deal of confusion concerning what an easement is and how it is created and maintained. Brian Pfeiffer, of Preservation Advisory Services, consultant to HBI on easement management, has kindly agreed to break down the process for us. This is Mr. Pfeiffer's second post on easements that he has done for the HBI blog. His first one, covered what exactly an easement is. This post will discuss how you create one yourself.  

HBI holds Preservation Easements on the Hurd House in
Charlestown, which was a property that HBI stabilized
and did exterior restoration work on in the 1980's
Most non-lawyers grow fretful and glaze over when talk turns toward legal agreements seasoned liberally with words such as “whereas”, “heretofore” and other arcane language.  This fear is unwarranted.  The goal of a legal document is to express as clearly as possible the intentions of the parties signing it.  Various statutes and legal precedents will require provisions to assure the validity of the agreement, but at its core, a Preservation Restriction is merely a contract between two parties who share the goal of preserving an historic building and its setting for the benefit of the public and future generations.  Any property owner - an individual, corporation, charity or other entity - can donate a Preservation Restriction, but the recipient must be either a 501(c)(3) corporation that has historic preservation as part of its recognized charitable mission, or a governmental agency that has historic preservation as one of its responsibilities.

Creating a Preservation Restriction requires the donor and recipient to negotiate a mutually acceptable scope of protected features and set of rules by which each party will participate in a building’s future preservation.  Our legal system with its heavy emphasis on potential adversarial situations often moves too quickly to the contemplation of enforcement clauses even before the parties have fully identified their shared goals.  Since the two parties will be binding themselves and their successors as partners in the preservation of a property, I offer the following check list as a Primer for reaching this goal.

Friday, February 14, 2014

The Second Empire Strikes Back: HBI’s Vertullo Building Project Rehabs a Prime Example of Hyde Park’s Predominant Early Building Style

Former long-time HBI staffer Jeffrey Gonyeau helped acquire the Vertullo Building and plan for its rehabilitation when he ran the Historic Neighborhood Centers Program for HBI. Jeff is now an independent historic preservation and fundraising consultant in Boston. He has agreed to share some of his accumulated Hyde Park expertise.

Hyde Park was incorporated as an independent town in 1868 (taking land from the surrounding towns of Dorchester, Milton, and Dedham) and was later annexed to the City of Boston in 1912—the last of the surrounding towns to become a part of the city. The rapid development of the areas that later became Hyde Park had begun in the early 1850s, and much construction took place throughout the remaining decades of the 19th century, particularly in the form of wood frame residential, commercial, mixed-use, civic, and religious structures.

State Prepares $2 Million Investment in the Roxbury Heritage State Park’s Dillaway Thomas House

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts will direct $2 million in improvements to the Roxbury Heritage State Park’s historic Dillaway Thomas House in Roxbury’s John Eliot Square.  One of Governor Patrick’s Signature Park Projects, the Dillaway Thomas House and its surrounding open space will be upgraded with public amenities, new exhibits and a public archeology laboratory for residents and visitors to Roxbury.

The Dillaway Thomas House, built in 1750 for the pastor of the nearby First Church of Roxbury, may very well be the oldest surviving house in Roxbury.  During the American Revolution, it was the headquarters for Continental Army General John Thomas during the Siege of 1775.  Canon from Fort Ticonderoga, an important factor in the end of the siege, passed safely through American-controlled access points here on the way to Dorchester Heights.   Located on the hill overlooking Dudley Square, the Dillaway Thomas House has unparalleled views of downtown Boston and Boston Harbor.  Since 1992, the house has been headquarters for the Roxbury Heritage State Park, providing exhibits and gathering space for local history and community activities.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Video: A look inside the historic Kittredge House in Roxbury

Restoration efforts at the historic Kittredge House in Roxbury are progressing, as crews work to bring the Linwood Street home back to its original glory.

The three-story structure was constructed in 1836 by Alvah Kittredge, a Roxbury alderman, famed furniture maker, and deacon at the Eliot Congregational Church. It has also been called home by a number of famous figures, including Nathaniel Bradlee, a prominent Boston architect.

The Greek revival mansion boasts more than 6,000-square-feet of living space with its towering columns, elegant façade, and winding staircases.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Vertullo Building Well Under Way

Work is underway at the Vertullo Building, and the new storefronts are taking shape. Currently, the new framework for the front windows is in place in several of the units. You can see how much more light these new windows will allow into the spaces. Even boarded up, like they are now (for winter weather purposes) you can see that they are going to make a dramatic difference. This will be most notable in the left most corner unit, where the windows will wrap around the corner, giving the retail occupant views towards the Hyde Park Main Streets District.

One of the most eye catching aspects of the current storefronts, is that they have all retained their original pressed tin ceilings. These ceilings, and the wonderful tin cornices will be saved, and showcased in the updated retail spaces. 

Watch the Video Tours below...