August 15, 2023 Historic Boston Inc. Ensures the Iconic Hayden Building’s Future through Preservation Easement
Historic Boston Inc. (HBI) is proud to announce the placement of permanent preservation restriction on the historic Hayden Building in Chinatown, ensuring the protection of the landmark structure.
Designed by the renowned 19th century architect Henry Hobson Richardson and constructed in 1875, the Hayden Building is a City of Boston Landmark, which affords the building’s exterior a high degree of protection. The new restriction, unanimously approved by the Boston City Council in July, safeguards the building’s interior and exterior from inappropriate changes, and restricts development in airspace above the building, ensuring that the Hayden Building’s architectural legacy will be preserved in perpetuity.
The Hayden Building stands as the only remaining commercial building in Boston by Richardson, architect of Trinity Church in Boston’s Copley Square and many other churches and civic buildings throughout the United States. Designed in the Richardsonian Romanesque style, the Hayden Building was not known to be the work of Richardson until 1975 when reference to it was found in the archives of Richardson’s successor firm Shepley Rutan and Coolidge.
The building’s architecture and history were overshadowed for decades by the Combat Zone, Boston’s red light district, an area of lower Washington Street in Boston that has all but disappeared. When HBI bought the building in 1993, the ground floor was leased for adult entertainment uses and the entire building suffered from many years of disinvestment. Fire had ravaged the roof and the building was structurally unsound. At that time, HBI was only able to repair the structure, restore the building’s exterior and envelope, and activate the ground floor of the building as a bank.
In 2009, HBI re-visited the possibilities for the vacant building’s renewal, and rehabilitated it for four residential units and one retail space. The Hayden Building exemplifies HBI’s mission of acquiring and reinvesting in endangered historic buildings that market owners and developers find hard to undertake. The organization ultimately places permanent preservation restrictions on its project properties and then sells them to willing buyers.
The preservation restriction, to be held by Historic Boston Inc., is recorded in perpetuity with the building’s deed and requires present and future owners to review any capital repairs for the Hayden Building with HBI in order to ensure that changes respect and honor the building’s historical significance and architectural integrity.
“Historic Boston Inc. is thrilled to have played a pivotal role in securing the future of the Hayden Building,” said Kathy Kottaridis, Executive Director at HBI. “The permanent protection of this unique building would not have been possible without the strong support of the Boston City Council and the passionate community of preservation friends who recognize the value of Boston’s history and architecture.”
Thanks to HBI’s preservation work and the placement of this easement, the Hayden Building will continue to grace the heart of Boston’s architectural landscape, telling its story and inspiring generations to come.