H. H. Richardson’s last remaining commercial building in Boston, the Hayden Building, has been saved from neglect and the wrecking ball through the unflagging efforts of Matthew Kiefer (LF 1996) and Historic Boston Incorporated. The long-stalled campaign to restore and reuse the beautiful structure in the former Combat Zone has gained steam, thanks to investment by HBI, state and federal preservation credits, and a city loan. Also critical was a fund raising campaign seeded by a generous contribution from another Loeb alum, Ron Druker (LF 1976).
The renovation plans by Boston’s CUBE architects call for a modern interior with elements recalling the history of the building and its tenants. Keifer, president of HBI, tells the story:
The groundbreaking was the culmination of, literally, decades of planning. HBI took a risk and bought the Hayden Building, a burned out hulk, in the depths of a real estate recession nearly 20 years ago. (How often do you get a chance to give new life to a building by H. H. Richardson?) A city councilor named Tom Menino, a committed preservationist, was running for Mayor at the time and told us (good-naturedly) that we were crazy. So at the groundbreaking, we assured Mayor Menino that we’re still crazy after all these years! It was a high-energy event, despite heavy rain, and reinforced our delight to be embarking on a thorough re-purposing of the building for ground floor retail and upper floor residential use.