The Boston Preservation Alliance is an independent organization that seeks to protect Boston’s historic character through advocacy and education. Each year, the Boston Preservation Alliance honors outstanding achievements in historic preservation and compatible new construction in Boston. This year, the Preservation Achievement Award recognized only six projects out of a competitive field for their positive impact on the city’s built environment. Winning projects each year serve as models for future preservation work of Boston’s historic character and architecture.
401 Park, an art-deco building originally opened in 1928 as a warehouse and distribution center, is a time-honored feature of Boston’s Fenway neighborhood due to its large size and striking architecture. This building was designated a Boston Landmark in 1989 and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1991. Over its almost 100-year lifespan, the Landmark Center has experienced vacancies, threats of demolition, and the transition of a changing neighborhood.
Suffolk was contracted for a preservation-friendly renovation of the first two floors and parking garage of the Landmark Center, honoring the building’s history while revitalizing the site as a dynamic community space. The scope of work included removal of a parking lot to accommodate a new one-acre park, which hosts a winter ice skating rink, as well as core-and-shell space activating common areas on the garage level, ground-floor lobby, and second-floor atria and lobby.
Thoughtful details such as a custom-designed railing with Boston-centric names and places helped this reinvented space pay homage to the building’s true industrial character and prominence as a Boston landmark. The project had three goals: to honor the long history of the 401 Park building; connect Boston’s Fenway and Longwood Medical neighborhoods; and transform the space into a vibrant hub for workers, residents, and visitors.
Suffolk has a portfolio of historic landmark preservation successes, and the 401 Park project marks the company’s third consecutive year being awarded a Preservation Achievement Award. In 2020, Suffolk received the distinction for its work renovating the Cathedral of the Holy Cross, an 1875 Gothic Revival cathedral in Boston’s South End. Last year, Suffolk’s renovation of Emerson College’s 1917 Little Building earned the company a 2021 Preservation Achievement Award.
Suffolk has also notably restored the 1911 Burnham Building as well as the Liberty Hotel, formerly Boston’s Charles St. Jail, which was originally constructed in 1851. Suffolk’s commitment to respecting architectural integrity and experience providing thoughtful and collaborative solutions on complex projects such as these allowed the firm to successfully bring new life to 401 Park and preserve this Boston landmark’s history.