Historic Speedway the New Verve of Allston-Brighton

Historic Speedway the New Verve of Allston-Brighton

Boston’s Architectural Heritage Foundation (AHF) dedicated the renewed Charles River Speedway in Allston on September 9th with a festive display of the variety of spaces, businesses and activities the complex will host.

The historic property, located at 525 Western Avenue, was built in 1899 to support a racetrack for horses along the Charles River, and then became the administrative headquarters for the Charles River Reservation, the parklands that stretch along the Charles River.  In 2013, the Commonwealth’s Department of Conservation and Recreation issued an RFP for a private partner to take on the redevelopment the historic buildings for new uses through the agency’s Historic Curatorship Program.  AHF was designated for the project in 2014 and, with the help of Bruner Cott Architects, began construction in 2019 on the varied complex of unusual building types, including horse stables, garages and outdoor courtyard.

The result of AHF’s extraordinary work is an attractive place for community gatherings, local businesses and exciting new food and drink options, centered on a courtyard that is open to the public and doubles as a biergarten for anchor tenant Notch Brewing of Salem.

A series of low-rise horse stables that hug the edge of Western Avenue have been transformed into the “Shops at the Stables,” retail storefronts devoted to local purveyors of food, drink, crafts and services.  These include makers of candles, saki, and hummus, and salon.

The Speedway will also become home to two local nonprofit organizations, the Fishing Academy and the Friends of Christian Herter Park, continuing the building’s history of supporting public resources along the Charles River.

AHF’s vision for the Speedway complex aims to combine public access and enjoyment with opportunities for new enterprises and access to services.  These, combined with beautifully restored historic buildings, create an enticing destination.  Congratulations!