archBOSTON.org

Go Back   archBOSTON.org > Boston's Built Environment > Development Projects

Development Projects New urban and/or architectural developments in Boston metro.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 10-03-2007, 11:38 AM   #1
statler
Administrator
 
statler's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Approaching a City
Posts: 5,982
Suffolk Dorms / Modern Theatre

I don't think this project has it's own thread. Now it does.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Banker & Tradesman
BRA Expected to Approve Suffolk?s Plan for Theater
By Thomas Grillo
Reporter

Suffolk University wants to create dormitories on the upper floors of Boston?s Modern Theatre.

The Boston Redevelopment Authority on Wednesday is expected to approve Suffolk University?s bid to restore the Modern Theatre in the city?s Downtown Crossing area and turn the upper floors into dormitories.

?Suffolk is excited about not only adding more student housing but becoming a part of restoring a little bit of the Boston?s historic culture,? said John Nucci, Suffolk?s vice president of government and community affairs.

Under the proposal, Suffolk will refurbish the 94-year-old building?s exterior and build a 12-story tower with up to 200 dorms for undergraduate students. Ground-floor uses will include a performing arts theater and gallery. The landmark at 523-525 Washington St. has been boarded up since the 1980s.

A BRA spokeswoman said Suffolk was the only applicant in response to its Request for Proposals. Suffolk may have been the logical candidate for the project because it owns the adjacent building at 10 West St. In July, the BRA approved the university?s plan to convert the 7-story facility at the corner of West and Washington streets into student housing.

Nucci said Suffolk?s interest in the Modern was spurred by the neighborhood and the need for more on campus housing for its undergraduates.

?As Suffolk talked about doing 10 West, abutters at the Ritz-Carlton Towers and Tremont on the Commons urged us to do something about the Modern because it is such an eyesore,? he recalled.

Suffolk has been looking to increase its number of beds. In December, Mayor Thomas M. Menino withdrew its support for Suffolk?s plans to build a dormitory tower on Beacon Hill due to strong neighborhood opposition.

The university has 4,700 undergraduates. When the Modern and West Street projects are completed, the school will house 24 percent or 1,219 of its students. Suffolk?s goal is to have dorms for 50 percent of its undergrads over the next two decades.

?Such a Win?

Sarah D. Kelly, executive director of the Boston Preservation Alliance, said the Modern is the last of a trio of crumbling theaters on Washington Street that the Menino administration had pledged to save. In 1995, the mayor convinced the National Trust for Historic Preservation to include the Paramount Theatre, the Opera House and the Modern on its ?Most Endangered List? to raise awareness about the need for preserving those links to Boston?s past.

In 2004, Clear Channel Entertainment completed a $38 million renovation of the storied Opera House. Last year, the BRA approved Emerson College?s $77 million Paramount Center project.

That development will include restoration of the Paramount Theatre, the Art Deco building completed in 1932. The project consists of 145,000 square feet of new construction in the adjacent Arcade Building including a restaurant, classrooms, dorms, faculty offices, practice rooms, 1,900 square feet of rehearsal rooms, a sound stage and several small theaters. Completion is expected next year.

The Modern was built in 1876 to house furniture and carpet showrooms. In 1913, theater architect C.H. Blackall designed a narrow cinema in the Ruskinian Gothic-style building. It was designed specifically for the exhibition of moving pictures, which was then a new medium.

Blackall added a 2-story white marble facade. In 1927, ?The Jazz Singer,? starring Al Jolson, premiered at the cinema. It tells the story of the son of a Jewish cantor who defies his father?s wishes to pursue his dream of becoming a jazz singer. Tickets were 15 cents.

After operating for 35 years as the Modern, the building was renamed the Mayflower Theater in 1949. It continued to show movies, although some historians say vaudeville also was performed in the theater in the 1930s. But by the early 1970s, the cinema was showing pornographic films, mirroring the decline along lower Washington Street that was dubbed the ?Combat Zone.?

Anne Meyers, president of the Downtown Crossing Association, hailed Suffolk?s selection. ?Getting someone to do something about the Modern that is financially feasible is such a win for everyone,? she said. ?The dorms are a good use, that building has been just sitting there and this is a great opportunity to complete the restoration of the block.?

statler is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-03-2007, 11:53 AM   #2
Ron Newman
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Davis Square, Somerville, MA
Posts: 8,399
Send a message via AIM to Ron Newman
That's welcome news.
Ron Newman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-04-2007, 06:02 AM   #3
stellarfun
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: salem ma and washington dc
Posts: 2,768
The Globe chirps in.
Quote:
Modern Theatre, long vacant, to house students

By Thomas C. Palmer Jr., Globe Staff | October 4, 2007

The Modern Theatre on Washington Street, where movies with sound were first shown in Boston, is going to become student housing for Suffolk University.

The Boston Redevelopment Authority yesterday approved Suffolk's plan for a $35 million renovation that will preserve the Modern's distinctive High Victorian and Gothic facade with its arching entrance, while erecting a modern 12-story tower with 180 to 200 beds above.

"We're excited about restoring a little bit of Boston's history to the Midtown Cultural District, as well as providing much-needed dorm space," said John A. Nucci, Suffolk's vice president for government and community affairs. "The building has been sitting idle and an eyesore for many years."

When completed, it will also house a ground floor "black box" performance space with 300 to 400 seats.

The 1876 building, first used as a furniture store and turned into a "talkie" cinema just as Al Jolson brought sound to American movies in "The Jazz Singer" in 1928, is adjacent to 10 West St., which Suffolk also bought and is renovating for dorm space.

"Doing the Modern will make West Street a more efficient building," Nucci said.

Together, the two new dorms will have more than 450 beds, which added to those in Suffolk's two existing dorm buildings will mean that more than 16 percent of its students are in campus housing.

Suffolk's goal is 50 percent; it had planned to add 500 or more beds in a dorm on Somerset Street on Beacon Hill in a former government building. However, after initially supporting the project, City Hall last year nixed that plan after hearing concerns from neighborhood residents fearful of student misbehavior.

Suffolk moved quickly to buy a condo project that was in the making at 10 West, and the university was the sole bidder for the city-owned Modern Theatre, at $2.7 million.

Mayor Thomas M. Menino said in a news release that preserving historic theaters has been a priority of his administration. "Restoring the Modern is the last piece," he said.

The nearby Opera House reopened in 2004 after a $31 million renovation, and the Paramount Theatre, also a few doors from the Modern, is being renovated by Emerson College.

The Modern Theatre building, designed by architect Levi Newcomb and designated as a Boston landmark in 2002, originally housed two storefronts where furniture and carpets were sold and stored. In 1913, it became a movie theater and - unlike vaudeville theaters converted to show movies - did not have a stage.

It was later renamed the Mayflower Theater, and in the 1970s adult movies were shown there, on the edge of the district known as the Combat Zone. The seven-story building, on a 10th of an acre, has been vacant for about 20 years.

CBT Architects of Boston will design the tower, and Preservation Technology Consultants will advise Suffolk on restoration.

Nucci said Suffolk hopes to relocate its New England School of Art & Design, currently in leased space on Arlington Street, to 20 Somerset St. The idea "has been very well received by the community," he said.
http://www.boston.com/business/globe...ouse_students/
__________________
A man gazing on the stars is at the mercy of the puddles in the road
stellarfun is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-04-2007, 09:59 AM   #4
JimboJones
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 935
National holiday

"That's welcome news."

Oh, c'mon Ron, you can do better than that!

You're the "theater restoration guy", after all!

I never thought the day would come when they'd get around to renovating the Modern. I'm shocked. (I know, I know, it hasn't happened, yet ...)
JimboJones is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-04-2007, 01:59 PM   #5
Ron Newman
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Davis Square, Somerville, MA
Posts: 8,399
Send a message via AIM to Ron Newman
Sounds less like a "restoration" and more like a gutting followed by the installation of a brand-new smaller stage theatre inside. But I'll take that over demolition anytime.

I'll mention once more that, contrary to Menino's statement, this isn't the "last piece". Right now the Wilbur needs saving as well, as Clear Channel has ended its lease and the owner has put it up for sale. And still nobody is talking about the dormant, closed, and nearly invisible RKO Boston.
Ron Newman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-08-2007, 08:29 PM   #6
PaulC
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 1,511
boston phoenix article

an old article on these theaters in the Boston Phoenix:
http://thephoenix.com/Article.aspx?id=40876&page=1
PaulC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-28-2008, 10:57 AM   #7
statler
Administrator
 
statler's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Approaching a City
Posts: 5,982
Re: Suffolk Dorms / Modern Theatre

This article covers all the Suffolk projects but it has a picture of the Modern so I've put it here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Banker & Tradesman
Suffolk Presents Its Proposals For Academic, Dorm Projects
By Thomas Grillo
Reporter


Image courtesy CBT Architects
This photo rendering depicts the restored Modern Theatre in Boston?s Downtown Crossing. Suffolk University has proposed a 12-story dormitory for the site


Suffolk University presented plans Thursday night for a 100,000-square-foot building on Boston?s Beacon Hill and a 12-story dormitory in Downtown Crossing.

The Suffolk Task Force heard details about the school?s expansion as it seeks approval to house a greater share of its undergraduate students and increase its academic space. The 18-member, multi-neighborhood panel was created to advise Mayor Thomas M. Menino on the university?s proposed growth.

The presentations come one year after the Beacon Hill neighborhood and Menino rejected a proposed 22-story dormitory at the former Metropolitan District Commission headquarters at 20 Somerset St. As an alternative, Alex Krieger, a principal at Chan Krieger Sieniewicz, a Cambridge-based architectural firm, provided details for academic space at the Beacon Hill location.

Under the proposal, an 8-story, glass-and-concrete tower would replace the former MDC facility. It would be the new home for Suffolk?s New England School of Art and Design. Suffolk intends to move its art school from cramped quarters in the Back Bay to Beacon Hill.

The tower would offer about 60,000 square feet of classroom, arts and staff space overlooking the Garden of Peace, a tiny memorial park commemorating homicide victims adjacent to the plaza at 100 Cambridge St. Krieger noted that the new building?s height will not be taller than the existing facility.

The two-hour session featured a testy exchange between Krieger and Robert Whitney, a task force member and Beacon Hill resident. Whitney raised questions about how Suffolk arrived at the new facility?s square footage.

?This is different from what was set forth in the draft plan,? he said. ?My understanding was that half the building would be allocated for the arts school. How much of the total space is for the art school and how much of the classroom space is not for the arts school? I?m just trying to figure out what the numbers are.?

A frustrated Krieger replied, ?Excuse me, why don?t you take out a pencil? No single academic program offers classrooms 24/7. It?s foolish to assign all classrooms to one use.?

Krieger then specified how much space was to be used for administration, classrooms, fine arts and graphs, and journalism. ?Maybe we were not clear enough to describe the difference between net and gross square footage,? he said.

But Whitney insisted that in earlier discussions, officials said the arts school would get about half the space.

?Beautiful? Fa?ade

Adrian Lebuffe, an architect at CBT Architects, presented the latest plans for redevelopment of the former Modern Theatre on lower Washington Street in the downtown.

If approved, the dilapidated movie house would be restored and a 12-story tower would be built at the rear to accommodate 180 dorm beds. The project would include restoration of the historic fa?ade of the Modern Theatre. Ground-floor uses would a two-story theater and art gallery/display area. Upper-floor uses would offer residences for undergraduate students.

?We will take the Modern?s beautiful vaudeville fa?ade and make that the entrance just for the theater,? he said. ?We are working with a number of groups to design the theater to make it work for as many interested parties as possible.?

Earlier this month, Suffolk opened dorms at a failed condominium residence at 10 West St. around the corner from the Modern. The residence hall, which will accommodate 274 undergraduates in suites and apartments, also will feature an upscale coffee shop and a restaurant on the street level.

The new building is expected to be an important component of Suffolk?s student housing program and help support Menino?s goal of encouraging institutions to house more of their students. The 10 West St. facility will be the school?s third residence hall.

Suffolk began housing students in 1996 with the opening of the 150 Tremont St. residence hall, near 10 West St. With that addition, the onetime commuter school can now house more than 1,000 students ? nearly 25 percent of its undergraduates.

Under an agreement with the city to build 10 West St., the school has agreed not to seek any more housing for its students in Downtown Crossing. While many residents have insisted that students be moved from the community into dormitories, fights often erupt when schools make plans for dorms in the neighborhoods.

Jane Forristall, a task force member from the West End, said she found it difficult to ask questions because several Suffolk expansion sites are not for sale, including the Charles F. Hurley Building in Government Center.

One of the ideas that have been floated by Suffolk officials for the school?s growth is the possibility of purchasing the sprawling Hurley campus at Cambridge and Staniford streets. Critics have called the 340,000-square-foot concrete facility, which is not for sale, Boston?s ugliest office building. If razed, the space would be big enough to create a new campus for Suffolk.

?Some of these locations are very close to the West End, but I don?t even know what to ask since discussion of this property is not on the table,? she said.
statler is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-28-2008, 11:09 AM   #8
Batterymarch
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 64
Re: Suffolk Dorms / Modern Theatre

The article states:

"Under an agreement with the city to build 10 West St., the school has agreed not to seek any more housing for its students in Downtown Crossing"

but then goes on to say:

"Adrian Lebuffe, an architect at CBT Architects, presented the latest plans for redevelopment of the former Modern Theatre on lower Washington Street in the downtown."

Don't those statements contradict one another?
Batterymarch is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-28-2008, 12:04 PM   #9
Ron Newman
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Davis Square, Somerville, MA
Posts: 8,399
Send a message via AIM to Ron Newman
Re: Suffolk Dorms / Modern Theatre

I believe it was no more student housing beyond these two developments. Some neighbors actually wanted Suffolk to take over the Modern Theatre as a condition for approval of the West Street dorm.
Ron Newman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-28-2008, 01:33 PM   #10
Batterymarch
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 64
Re: Suffolk Dorms / Modern Theatre

?
Batterymarch is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-28-2008, 10:33 PM   #11
czsz
Senior Member
 
czsz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: brooklyn
Posts: 6,050
Re: Suffolk Dorms / Modern Theatre

Quote:
The two-hour session featured a testy exchange between Krieger and Robert Whitney, a task force member and Beacon Hill resident. Whitney raised questions about how Suffolk arrived at the new facility?s square footage.

?This is different from what was set forth in the draft plan,? he said. ?My understanding was that half the building would be allocated for the arts school. How much of the total space is for the art school and how much of the classroom space is not for the arts school? I?m just trying to figure out what the numbers are.?

A frustrated Krieger replied, ?Excuse me, why don?t you take out a pencil? No single academic program offers classrooms 24/7. It?s foolish to assign all classrooms to one use.?

Krieger then specified how much space was to be used for administration, classrooms, fine arts and graphs, and journalism. ?Maybe we were not clear enough to describe the difference between net and gross square footage,? he said.

But Whitney insisted that in earlier discussions, officials said the arts school would get about half the space.
Unbelievable.
czsz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-01-2008, 10:24 AM   #12
mpm617
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Boston
Posts: 31
Re: Suffolk Dorms / Modern Theatre

Quote:
Jane Forristall, a task force member from the West End, said she found it difficult to ask questions because several Suffolk expansion sites are not for sale, including the Charles F. Hurley Building in Government Center.

One of the ideas that have been floated by Suffolk officials for the school?s growth is the possibility of purchasing the sprawling Hurley campus at Cambridge and Staniford streets. Critics have called the 340,000-square-foot concrete facility, which is not for sale, Boston?s ugliest office building. If razed, the space would be big enough to create a new campus for Suffolk.
The Hurley Building is Bostons other Paul Rudolph building. The other threatened with demolition for TNP. I don't find it ugly as much as poorly maintained. The state uses a triagular space at the corner of Causeway and Merrimack Sts. for a parking lot which greatly detracts from the building. It should be planted with trees. The style of this building is similar to his UMASS-Dartmouth design. He was a master at building with concrete. I read somewhere that the corduroy skin was achieved by individually hammering the ridges after the forms came off. It was originally built as an in-patient mental health facility.
mpm617 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-04-2008, 11:07 AM   #13
whighlander
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Lexington
Posts: 3,449
Re: Suffolk Dorms / Modern Theatre

Here-Here let Suffolk have it

The Hurley -- it makes me want to Hurl nearly every time that I pass by it -- that Rudolph hammered concrete skin makes my skin crawl -- what a colossal waste of money

Overall it is definitely up there with a few parking garages as one UGLY and a terribly inefficient use of the space in a prime location -- about what you would expect from the Dukakoid State taking what it wanted and building without any consideration for the surroundings -- although I believe that it was built much earlier than Dukakis as part of the Government Center redevelopment in the 1960's

Westy
whighlander is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-04-2008, 11:37 AM   #14
statler
Administrator
 
statler's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Approaching a City
Posts: 5,982
Re: Suffolk Dorms / Modern Theatre

Quote:
Originally Posted by whighlander
although I believe that it was built much earlier than Dukakis as part of the Government Center redevelopment in the 1960's
Then why bring Dukakis into the conversation?
statler is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-04-2008, 12:33 PM   #15
whighlander
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Lexington
Posts: 3,449
Re: Suffolk Dorms / Modern Theatre

Statler -- Re: Dukakis

Couldn't resist -- because he'e the poster boy for The government that knows best -- such as the %75 of the Greenway that needed to be Green, etc.,-- and that I always imagine when I?m near the Hurley that had the Hurkley not been built before - -then Dukakis would have built it

Sorry a bit off topic

But Suffolk should be given a shot at redeveloping the Hurley site into their main Campus -- had no idea that Suffolk had 4k undergrds -- that's the same size as MIT's undergrad student body.

Westy
whighlander is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-04-2008, 04:42 PM   #16
boston3999
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Re: Suffolk Dorms / Modern Theatre

Suffolk actually has over 5k undergrads hence the need for more dorms
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-04-2008, 04:56 PM   #17
PaulC
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 1,511
Re: Suffolk Dorms / Modern Theatre

I think you might give Dukakis some credit on urban development. The state transportation was built with retail on the first floor, it included a connection from Boylston Place to Stuart St, space for a stage expansion to the Emerson Theater and the ability to connect to the upper balcony of the Emerson Theater which had been closed because on new laws regarding emergency access. Compare this to the O'Neil building.

On the down side Dukakis had the support of the brick layer union in the previous election, hence the building is all brick including the lintels. Being so liberal he had to choose the only Boston firm headed by a woman and looking at the end results I don't think this firm was up to the task. Just look at the awning, nothing say enter here, it's the same from end to end. Would it have been to much to accent the entrance?
PaulC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-04-2008, 07:26 PM   #18
SethTisue
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Re: Suffolk Dorms / Modern Theatre

Quote:
Originally Posted by mpm617 View Post
The Hurley Building is Bostons other Paul Rudolph building.
There's three! Don't forget First Church.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/tisue/tags/firstchurch/
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-05-2008, 12:38 AM   #19
nm88
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 323
Re: Suffolk Dorms / Modern Theatre

I wonder if we'd all feel different about the Hurley if the last element of Rudolph's design had been built: a tower.
nm88 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-05-2008, 12:58 AM   #20
justin
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 434
Re: Suffolk Dorms / Modern Theatre

^ I feel Hurley is the most beautiful building in Boston as it is.
justin is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
downtown, downtown crossing, modern theater, preservation, suffolk university, theater, washington st.

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Northeastern eyes dorms KentXie Development Projects 707 02-19-2014 09:07 AM
Suffolk Downs Casino? lexicon506 Development Projects 181 08-03-2010 02:03 PM
Strand Theatre in Uphams Corner, Dorchester Ron Newman Boston Architecture & Urbanism 27 01-18-2007 06:46 PM
BU plans new dorms for 1,500 students Mike Development Projects 27 07-16-2006 09:43 AM


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 06:00 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.7.3
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.