$15 Million Adaptive Reuse Project Underway at Historic Roslindale Substation and Adjacent Lot

The historic areas in Boston and its suburbs are buzzing with adaptive reuse projects. Following the recent success of the Ames Shovel Works and the Voke Lofts, a new apartment community is underway in Roslindale Village.
Parkside on Adams - Roslindale, Boston

Parkside on Adams – Roslindale, Boston

The historic areas in Boston and its suburbs are buzzing with adaptive reuse projects. Following the recent success of the Ames Shovel Works and the Voke Lofts, a new apartment community is underway on the corner of Washington Street and Cummins Highway and across from the Adams Park in Roslindale Village as part of a transformation project that will revitalize the heart of the neighborhood.

Last month Mayor Martin J. Walsh joined representatives of Historic Boston, Inc., Roslindale Village Main Street, Inc. and Rhode Island-based developer Peregrine Group LLC for to celebrate the official ground breaking of the Parkside on Adams, a mixed-use complex that incorporates a historic MBTA power substation and the former Higgins Funeral Home site.

“Historic Boston celebrates the cross-sector collaboration that made this entire project—both new and historic—possible,” said in a statement for the press Kathy Kottaridis, executive director of Historic Boston Inc. “What began as an effort to re-activate one long-vacant public building has become the source of economic growth and pride for the Roslindale community and everyone who played a role in triggering this preservation-based development.”

This adaptive reuse project was designed by Prellwitz Chilinski Associates of Cambridge and has an estimated development cost of $15 million. Work on the 40,000-square-foot project began with the demolition of the closed Higgins Funeral Home on Washington Street in July this year, immediately after the Boston Redevelopment Authority transferred the construction site to Peregrine. According to the developer, this property will be replaced by a four-story building with 43 apartments—six of which will be designated as affordable and will be available by lottery—in a combination of studios, one- and two-bedroom units. A surface garage will provide 38 parking spaces for the building’s residents.

Parkside on Adams - Roslindale, Boston

Parkside on Adams – Roslindale, Boston

As for the adjacent 103-year-old power station sitting at 4228 Washington Street, Peregrine plans to rehabilitate it and transform it into a commercial structure of 8,000 square feet that will include a dining venue with around 120 seats on the main level—most probably the restaurant will be owned and operated by Chris Douglas, who currently owns The Ashmont Grill and Tavolo in Dorchester.

Completed in 1911 in Classical Revival style under plans designed by Boston’s prominent architect Robert S. Peabody, the Roslindale Substation was used by MBTA’s predecessor, Boston Elevated Railway, to convert alternating electric current (AC) into direct current (DC) to power streetcar system that was in use at that time. The substation operated until 1971 and has stood vacant ever since, according to Wicked Local. In August 2013 the Roslindale Substation was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The residential component at Parkside on Adams is set for completion in August 2015, with the restauration and repurposing of the former electrical substation expected to wrap up at around the same time.

Renderings courtesy of Prellwitz Chilinski Associates