The Charles Street Meeting House has announced the completion of six new luxury office suites located in the historic church on the corner of Mount Vernon and Charles streets.
The building owners recently converted the space, previously owned by architect John Sharratt, from residential to office use. The Meeting House began its existence in 1807 as a Baptist church, built on the shoreline of the old Shawmut Peninsula before the filling of Back Bay. It was designed by influential architect Asher Benjamin (1773–1845). Many other congregations occupied the building over the course of its long history—from Albanian Orthodox to Unitarian Universalist.
In 1979, Sharratt purchased the building from SPNEA (now Historic New England) and, while preserving the exterior intact, received approvals to renovate the interior to create shops on the ground floor (now including Tatte Bakery and Café with its open-air patio), office spaces on floors two through four, and his own 4,000 square-foot residence at the southwest corner of the building, extending on eight levels from the basement to the top of the clock tower.
“The building received architectural awards for adaptive reuse at the time it was converted in 1979, and is considered to be a very successful model for historic preservation, generating income to support maintenance in perpetuity,” said Paul Elias, a trustee for the owners.
The just-completed conversion of the residence (Architect: Mills Whittaker, GC: Berkeley Building Company) offers six new office suites, each with distinct and original details including revealed building trusses, open beams, vaulted ceilings and large original windows with views of Beacon Hill, Mount Vernon Street and the Charles River. The building offers a staffed central reception area suitable for welcoming visitors and accepting packages as well as several shared conference rooms. The Meeting House is well known for its role in African American history. Throughout the first half of the 19th century, it was a center of abolitionist activity, hosting such powerful speakers as Fredrick Douglass, Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, and William Lloyd Garrison. In 1876, the structure became home to First African Methodist Episcopal Church, the pioneering independent African American denomination. The Meeting House is a stop on historic trolley tours of Boston and Boston’s Black Heritage Trail.