LOCATION: Boston, Massachusetts, USA
OLD USE: Public library, police station
NEW USE: Office and residential units, restaurant
Built in 1874, this building served multiple purposes. It housed the Boston neighborhood’s District 11 Police Station as well as the first branch public library in the United States. It was designed in the Victorian Gothic style by George Clough, the first official architect for the City of Boston. The building was closed down in the 1970s and then experienced a number of fires in the 1980s. It is now currently listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Fields Corner Community Development Corporation (FCCDC) is dedicated to facilitating the availability of housing and promoting economic development in order to enhance the environment for a healthy residential life in the Dorchester area of Boston, Massachusetts. FCCDC was formed by a coalition of neighborhood organizations already active in improving their respective neighborhoods: Clampoint Neighborhood Association, Dorchester Gardenlands Preserve and Development Corporation, Dorchester Neighbors Organizing Neighbors, Freeport Adams Development Corporation, and Meeting House Hill Improvement. Incorporated on April 11, 1980, its purpose was to plan and stimulate development in the Fields Corner Community to encourage further growth of the area as a residential community and to maintain a stable business community. FCCDC indicated in its Article of Organization that it would accomplish this mission by promoting business ventures and providing assistance to neighborhood groups which are involved in designing and planning activities within the Fields Corner target area.
The City of Boston had planned to raze the building, but FCCDC successfully blocked the action in court. Subsequently an intricate package of financing to rehabilitate the property was brought together by the Fields Corner CDC, who acted as developer on the construction. The property reopened in 1985 with 13 units of affordable rental housing on the second and third floors and commercial space on the first floor. Additional funding was required to renovate the old jail in the basement to a space suitable for a restaurant. The adaptive reuse of this old municipal building within the heart of Fields Corner is a great step to rebuilding and strengthening the community. Rather than losing its character to the wrecking ball, Fields Corner CDC has successfully shown that there is opportunity in the abandoned building as well as within the community itself. The great mix of uses within the renovated building will ensure constant use and activity for years to come.