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Boston's History Enhances Its Future

Boston

In Boston, historic preservationists and real estate developers have become best buds, and 400 turned up Monday evening for the Boston Preservation Alliance's 25th Anniversary Achievement Awards at the Emerson Paramount Theater downtown. (In honor, today's issue was typed on recycled laptops; that is, we stole them from our kids.)

Boston's History Enhances Its Future

Ilene Perlman Photography

"Preservation ignites development," Mayor Thomas Menino said as he accepted the highest honor of the night, the Codman Award for Lifetime Achievement. (He's with Atlantic Development's Peter Roth, Preservation Alliance chair Susan Park, and its ED Greg Galer.) The mayor--who's created historic districts, funded preservation projects, and halted demolitions while encouraging development, says retaining Boston's historic fabric with developer collaboration gives the city a unique character that attracts more investment. Proving his point are several big mixed-use projects downtown involving historic buildings or neighborhoods by the region's developers: AvalonBay, Millennium Partners, National Development, WS Development, and Related Beal.

Boston's History Enhances Its Future

Millennium Partners Boston's Tony Pangaro (right, with JLL SVP of development investment Eamon O'Marah) is working on one of the largest such projects: the $630M Millennium Tower mixed-use complex that includes the historic redevelopment of the former Filene's building designed by Daniel Burnham. Now under construction, it's residences, offices, and retail (including a supermarket) are pivotal in revitalizing Washington Street. Tony says prodding and encouragement from preservationists and public officials makes his projects better. His goal: instill old buildings with new meaning.

Boston's History Enhances Its Future

WS Development, which is planning for 1.2M SF of retail in the Seaport District, restored one of the Back Bay's earliest buildings, the Italian Renaissance palazzo-style 234 Berkeley St now occupied by Restoration Hardware. (If they were there before, repairs would've been much easier.) Preservation Technology Associates' Judith Selwyn, WS' Adam Weiner, Greg, and Tom DiSimone accepted kudos for saving the deteriorating 1862 red brick and stone structure. Corinthian pilasters, decorative railings, and cornices were repaired; and damaged materials were replaced and protected from future deterioration with "magnificent attention to detail," Greg says.

Boston's History Enhances Its Future

Hostelling International USA's adaptive re-use of 19 Stuart St transformed it from a non-descript, under-used 1886 building into reasonably priced accommodations for 500 visitors a night. The team included HI USA's (former VP) Deborah Ruhe and Aaron Chaffee, Greg (he's everywhere), and Stegman Associates' Janet Stegman. The wood-and-masonry structure, on the National Register of Historic Places since 1980, is now the nation's first LEED-certified hostel.