Allston Village is a commercial center within the Harvard Avenue National Register Historic District. Several historic buildings contribute to the historic character and significance of the neighborhood, including Allston Hall (1890), the Jack Young building (1897), and the Allston Depot (1895), a designated Boston Landmark. In June of 2018, City Realty filed plans with the Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) to redevelop multiple parcels along Cambridge, Franklin, and Highgate streets. The proposal includes the demolition of several buildings including the Jack Young Building and a commercial building at 10-14 Franklin Street beside Allston Hall. The project invests in an area that would benefit from rejuvenation, but we should be thoughtful about how new height, scale, materials, style and density are balanced with the historic elements.
A summary of Allston-Brighton history by Historic Boston, Inc can be found here.
The Alliance supports new vibrancy in Allston Village, but we have concerns about doing so in a way that deteriorates the historic character of the neighborhood. We are particularly concerned about the loss of the Jack Young building on Cambridge Street and the treatment of the Allston Hall building on Franklin Street since both of these buildings create a distinct sense of place and anchor Allston Square. These buildings which have long-defined the character of this neighborhood should be able to play an integral part in this Allston Village reboot.
We intend to submit formal comments to the BPDA and hope to work with the proponent, the community, and BPDA staff to protect the historic character of Allston Village while supporting investment in an evolving neighborhood.
Highlights from our activity log
September 14, 2018
The Alliance submits a comment letter to the BPDA with concerns regarding the demolition of the Jack Young building and the rehabilitation of Allston Hall.
Staff reaches out to local preservation partners for feedback about the proposal; the firehouse on Harvard Avenue is mentioned as an important contributor to the neighborhood that should not be overlooked as the neighborhood is redeveloped.
June 31, 2018
Staff attends first Impact Advisory Group (IAG) meeting. There are several questions from IAG members and the public about the use of the new buildings, the loss of the Jack Young building and the design of its replacement, the need for more open space throughout the project, and the restoration of Allston Hall. The proposal includes several opportunities for public art and Alliance staff suggests utilizing some of this space for educational displays about the neighborhood's history. Staff also encourages the proponent to complete a thorough structural analysis of the Jack Young building.
June 12, 2018
Staff speaks with Lance Campbell, BPDA project manager, about the proposal and some of the Alliance's initial concerns. Staff requests a longer comment period since this is an extensive proposal.
Staff communicates with neighborhood advocates to understand their initial concerns regarding the proposal.