Fields Corner is a bustling commercial district centered on the intersection of Dorchester Avenue and Adams Street. Home to shops and other civic amenities since the late-18th century, commercial activity remains strong in this highly diverse neighborhood, which is now a center of Boston’s Vietnamese community. A significant amount of new development has bolstered the district, as has the recent reconstruction of the MBTA’s Red Line subway station. Many structures, however, need rehabilitation, from simple storefront improvements to the total redevelopment of underutilized buildings. Architecturally, the district is particularly notable for its collection of early 20th-century cast stone commercial buildings.
The completion in 2011 of the Golden Building façade rehabilitation marked HBI’s first bricks and mortar project in Fields Corner, which dramatically transformed a highly altered eyesore into a showpiece for the neighborhood. The $320,000 project removed several layers of unsympathetic alterations and restored some missing architectural features of this ca. 1895 building.
In addition, the Golden Building’s ground floor retail tenants worked with the City of Boston’s ReStore Program to develop new logos and signage, and the Dorchester Youth Collaborative on the second floor received a new and efficient HVAC system with help from the City’s Partners with Non-Profits Program. HBI provided a low-interest loan to the property’s owners, Stephen and Deborah Golden, and managed most aspects of the project, from planning and design through construction.
This project was quickly followed by the rehabilitation of the façade of the Lenox Building, just a block away. This two-story brick and cast stone building from 1920 received substantial masonry repairs, along with the complete rehab of the storefront of the large corner retail space and two other retail spaces. These two successes have generated interest from other property owners along Dorchester Avenue, and two additional property owners are now working with HBI to plan similar substantial rehabilitations.