Hurley Building Redevelopment Could Lead the Way Nationwide for Adaptive Reuse

As it looks ahead to issuing a Request for Proposal for the proposed redevelopment of the Charles F. Hurley Building, the state is promoting the adaptive reuse of the nearly 50-year-old Brutalist building in an innovative approach that could potentially pave the way for future projects of its kind nationwide.

“We’re looking to lead the nation in updating and adapting buildings of this style [while preserving] historical aspects,” Tamara Roy, a principal with the Boston architectural and engineering firm, Santec, during a Nov. 19 virtual meeting sponsored by the state’s Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance. “Through adaptive reuse, we can preserve and bring out and complement the best aspect’s of the old building while interweaving new, current aspects [into the project] by reusing the massing entirely and renovating all street facades, or by renovating the wing closest to the Lindemann Building.”

Bound on three sides by Staniford, Cambridge and New Chardon streets, the Hurley building occupies about 327,000 gross square-feet, said Abi Vladeck, a senior project manager with DCAMM, and has an additional 241,000 square footage of unused space on the 3½-acre site. The building, which opened in 1971, is currently home to the Department of Unemployment Assistance, MassHire and several other state labor and workforce departments, providing office space for around 680 state employees.

Through the RFP process, the state intends to select and enter into a ground lease with a designated private partner to redevelop the site next year. Permitting and financing is expected to wrap up in 2023, with completion of the redevelopment project coming in 2025, at which time, the state would enter into a long-term lease with the developer to lease office space back there from them.

In redeveloping the site, one approach would be to “develop an innovative and complementary composition of massing at various scales,” Roy said, or the developer could choose instead to create “a signature new renovation or addition that complements the Hurley/Courthouse/Lindeman block.”

The state is also considering three principles for sustainable design in the redevelopment project, Roy said, which include meeting the baseline sustainable and resilient deign requirements; addressing the thermal performance of the existing building and looking for creative changes to the exterior to make it more efficient; and surpassing the minimum requirements regarding sustainability to make it a “learning lab for city”

Among the urban design objectives for the project, Roy said, are creating “high-quality” landscaped green-spaces at the corners of public plazas, as well as safe, pedestrian-friendly sidewalks; activating the building’s ground level; and reducing its “superblock” effect, which was originally meant to secure the site from automobiles.

Moreover, the project won’t “introduce any more cars or parking on the site,” Roy said, but it would instead create more space for bicyclist and pedestrians in response to feedback received so far.

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