Friday, June 26, 2015

Preparing Historic Buildings to Withstand New Weather Impacts


Guest blogger Susan Pranger is an architect and Boston resident. The following blog post summarizes the study she recently completed as her capstone project at the Boston Architectural College for a master of design studies (MDS) in sustainable design. The buildings at HBI’s prospective project at 1786 Fowler Clark Farm in Mattapan were among those Susan used to model some of her recommendations for preparing historic structures to withstand the impacts of new weather associated with temperature changes.

Now is the time to prepare for the impacts of Global Warming on historic buildings. It is no longer sufficient to focus only on reducing energy consumption and related emissions; we must also prepare for the inevitable impacts.

The general consensus among scientists is that Global Warming is already happening and is irreversible, although the rate of change and the severity will depend on our actions to reduce emissions. The risk of severe storms, changes in habitat, and both local and global changes will increase with the rise with the global temperature. 

Changes in sea level, temperature, and solar radiation (UVB) may be occurring gradually, but their impact on weather patterns is complex and can occur suddenly. This past winter’s record snowfall in New England and the related ice dam damage has possible roots in global warming:

Warmer air is capable of holding more moisture- so a generally warmer atmosphere will hold more precipitation, even in the winter. As with heat waves, the frequency of such events are generally decreasing, but their intensity is increasing (as shown by the devastating blizzards in February 2010 in the mid-Atlantic region)” (Climate Institute n.d.)

Monday, June 22, 2015

HBI’s Council of Advisors Gathers in the Roslindale Substation


This week, HBI’s Council of Advisors gathered for their spring meeting in Roslindale for to see the 1911 Roslindale Substation and explore the topic of urban entrepreneurship and revitalization with former State Treasurer Steve Grossman.

Restoration of the historic substation will begin this month by Peregrine Group LLC, developers of the mixed-use Parkside on Adams, a 43-unit apartment complex with destination restaurant in the Substation, operated by restaurateur Chris Douglass. Both Douglass and Peregrine’s principals Jordan Stone and Bev Gallo were present to welcome HBI’s visitors and explain their plans for the historic substation. They were joined by Bryan Reeves, Roslindale resident and operator of Craft Beer Cellar, a craft beer retail operation that will locate in the lower level of the Roslindale Substation after it is rehabilitated.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Eastern Bank Supports Mattapan’s Fowler Clark Epstein Farm


HBI is pleased to have received a $10,000 grant from the Eastern Bank Charitable Foundation for pre-development planning at the 1786 Fowler Clark Epstein Farm in Mattapan. HBI executed a purchase and sale agreement with the Epstein family trust in October of 2014 and will finalize purchase next week.

The Foundation’s grant is supporting architecture, engineering and financial analyses for preservation of the threatened historic farmhouse, 1860s barn and landscape for a combined housing and urban farming program. The property, once the center of a 330 acre colonial farmstead, is today about 30,000 square feet of land. The house and barn have never been moved and are collectively protected as a designated Boston Landmark.

An important financial partner to HBI and its projects, Eastern Bank has helped finance the Hayden Building in Chinatown and the Alvah Kittredge House in Roxbury. The Eastern Bank Charitable Foundation has been a generous donor to the organization’s many projects.

Eastern Bank was founded in 1818 and is the oldest mutual bank in the country. In 2015, the bank’s foundation will donate approximately $6.4 million to many organizations across eastern Massachusetts and southern and coastal New Hampshire.

HBI is grateful to Eastern Bank for helping HBI strengthen Boston’s neighborhoods through historic preservation.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Historic Boston and the American Cities Coalition Named to Redevelop Historic Comfort Station in Dorchester


Rendering by Utile, Inc. Architecture + Planning

The City of Boston Department of Neighborhood Development has tentatively designated the redevelopment of the historicUpham’s Corner Comfort Station in Dorchester to the partnership of Historic Boston Inc. and The American City Coalition.



Historic Boston Inc. (HBI) and The American City Coalition (TACC) are working with Noah Hicks, founder of Dorchester’s Bowdoin Bike School, to repurpose the existing Comfort Station into The Bike Kitchen, a full-service bicycle shop and café, creating a sustainable future for this neglected and important historic structure.

The redevelopment of this building will continue the positive economic development in Upham’s Corner and reflects the objectives of both nonprofit organizations to strengthen the Upham’s Corner business district through their combined expertise in real estate development, historic preservation, and economic development.