Friday, September 4, 2015

Plotting HBI's Future



Allston Hall
Over the last nine months, HBI’s board of directors and staff have been updating the organization’s strategic plan with two core objectives: 1) to identify historic properties in Boston’s neighborhoods for redevelopment; and 2) to determine the impact goals HBI preservation projects and activities should have.
 
With the help of Jennifer Gilbert of VIVA Consulting, HBI has interviewed partners and collaborators to solicit insight into the organization’s perceived strengths and Boston’s preservation needs today, and has whittled its prospects to three overlapping areas of geography, policy and impact.  

Geographically, HBI will aim to identify projects in Boston’s neighborhood commercial districts where some of Boston’s finest historic commercial buildings are located, and that represent an opportunity to collaborate with local communities on revitalization measures. 

Pilgrim Church, Upham's Corner
HBI is also interested in bringing its real estate development and preservation skills to bear on public policy priorities – planning areas or uses for historic buildings that are being advanced by the City and civic leaders -- in order to benefit from the momentum and focus of those concerns, but also to bolster the case for historic preservation and community history in neighborhood planning and development. 

Finally, and most important to the HBI organization, HBI has decided to “scale up” the size of projects it is looking for in order to build on the development strength it has built over the last several years and to aim for higher impact – more housing units, studios or office spaces for example -- on policy matters.  By extension, neighborhood commercial districts also present an opportunity for sustained focus on multiple properties in one area with the expectation of higher economic and visual impact.

Engine 9 Fire House , East Boston
We have settled in on three neighborhood commercial districts that we believe lie at the sweet spot of these three interests: 

Upham’s Corner inDorchester, one of the City’s most in-tact late 19th century neighborhood business districts, where rehabilitation of underutilized historic buildings can build on the groundbreaking plans for development along the Fairmount/Indigo Line Corridor and expand economic opportunity through new spaces for small business, artist studios, and housing.

Central and MaverickSquares in East Boston, where preservation-based redevelopment can help retain local character and help the traditional business districts and cultural heart of the neighborhood meet the explosion of new development along the neighborhood’s waterfront.  

The western edge of AllstonVillage at Cambridge Street, where there has been considerable focus on new transportation investments in both commuter rail and Massachusetts Turnpike improvements.  The cluster of historic buildings near the Richardsonian railroad depot (now Pizzeria Regina) presents an opportunity for preservation rehabilitation to define a new plan for several blocks of low-scale auto repair facilities.  

HBI is beginning to model financial projections and impact measures in order to test these adjustments to strategy and to identify organizational and financial changes that will be necessary for success.  We will update you more over the next several months as plans are finalized. In the meantime, we welcome your input and ideas
HBI's Strategic Planning























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