HBI to undertake summer repairs to Old Corner Bookstore

HBI to undertake summer repairs to Old Corner Bookstore

Visitors to downtown Boston later this summer will discover scaffolding and construction workers at the corner of School and Washington Streets as Historic Boston begins a series of necessary repairs to the four historic buildings that comprise the Old Corner Bookstore complex.

The majority of work will focus on roof repairs at 277 Washington Street (Dig Inn restaurant), a structure built in 1728, where HBI will be fully replacing the roof and skylights, and re-building parapet walls.  Similar work will be undertaken at the rear of the 1718 historic building at 283 Washington Street, where leaking skylights will be replaced, and some surfaces of the entire complex’s façade will be repointed.  The work also involves removal of disused mechanical equipment and installation of new air conditioners for upper story offices.

The four buildings that comprise HBI’s holdings were built between 1718 and 1825.  Together they represent some of the earliest remaining structures in downtown Boston.  The non-profit Historic Boston Incorporated (HBI) was founded in 1960 to save this collection from demolition for a parking garage.  The buildings were restored by HBI to their mid-19th century appearance, the time period in which the Old Corner Bookstore was home to the publishing house of Ticknor and Fields.  Currently the headquarters for HBI, net revenue from the leases at the Old Corner Bookstore help to support the non profit’s historic preservation projects throughout the neighborhoods.


Today, the buildings host retail tenants on the ground floor and four office tenants on the upper floors.  HBI’s roof and masonry work is supported by Gale Associates, an engineering and building envelope consultant and contractor selection for the work will begin in June.

HBI is also in the process of identifying architectural services for a more comprehensive look at the entire complex in order to more comprehensively address deferred maintenance and historic preservation treatments, while also looking at long term asset planning.  Stay tuned for more updates on improvements at the Old Corner Bookstore.