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Mayor Walsh celebrates opening of Bruce C. Bolling Building

Today, Mayor Martin J. Walsh celebrated the opening of the Bruce C. Bolling Municipal Building in the heart of Dudley Square.

The $125 million state of the art facility is the new home of the Boston Public Schools headquarters with nearly 500 employees, centralizing BPS administrative staff and improving organizational synergy and constituent interaction. The building also includes the Roxbury Innovation Center, a startup incubator to connect Roxbury with the innovation economy, 18,000 square feet of ground floor retail, and common community areas. The building is named for Bruce C. Bolling, the first African American president of the Boston City Council, whose groundbreaking legislation continues to promote access, fairness and opportunity in Roxbury and across Boston.

“The Bruce C. Bolling Building is built on collaboration and partnership,” said Mayor Walsh. “Thank you to the Roxbury and Dudley Square communities, and the Dudley Vision Advisory Task Force for your faith and support through this process, and to our partners in government, and the private and nonprofit sectors. Without your commitment, steadfastness, and pride, this project would not have been the success that it is. I’m proud to stand here today, and celebrate with all of you, the new standard for municipal building in the City of Boston.”

"Relocating to Roxbury puts us closer to our schools and closer to our students, where we should be,” said Interim Superintendent John McDonough. "The thoughtful, innovative design of the Bruce C. Bolling Building, from the open floor plan and low cubicle partitions to the expansive windows that bathe the office spaces with sunlight, has transformed the work environment for Boston Public Schools employees, and turned it into a far more collaborative culture."

Using the past to create the future, the Bruce C. Bolling Building preserves and incorporates the iconic Ferdinand Furniture Building, an emblem of the square's historic commercial vitality, along with the Curtis Block and the Waterman & Sons building. The six-story building totaling 215,000 square feet, features a collaborative, flexible work environment for BPS employees, who began the process of moving in February 2015. The overall layout of the energy-efficient building will foster collaboration amongst various BPS divisions and increase overall efficiency throughout the school district.

The Roxbury Innovation Center, a 3,000 square foot business incubator, will encourage collaboration, bold thinking, and new business development, a cornerstone to Mayor Walsh’s vision and goal of creating a thriving, healthy and innovative City. The nonprofit innovation center will be housed on the second floor and will be operated by the Venture Café Foundation.

Common areas in the building on the second and sixth floors, will be available for student work, school events, and community gatherings, including a community roof deck on the top floor featuring breathtaking views to Downtown Boston. SkyLab will provide community-connected programming services for these common areas, to help fulfill the vision of the Bruce C. Bolling Municipal Building as a hub for innovation. In addition, the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative has committed to provide the Venture Café Foundation and Skylab grant funding totaling up to $150,000 to support their innovation work.

The building also includes 18,000 square feet of ground floor retail space, with local businesses including: fashion boutique, Final Touch with Class; convenience and healthy food retailer, Dudley Cafe; eye care service and optical shop, Gallery Eye Care; local burger establishment, Tasty Burger; and pizzeria, Dudley Dough.

The Bruce C. Bolling Municipal Building project was the largest capital building project the City of Boston has managed since the construction of Boston City Hall.  The project was overseen by the City of Boston’s Property and Construction Management Department in collaboration with the Boston Redevelopment Authority and PMA Consultants. The building was designed by Mecanoo from the Netherlands and Sasaki Associates from Watertown, Massachusetts. The City selected Boston-based Shawmut Design and Construction as the CM at-Risk contractor.

The $125 million project was funded primarily by the City of Boston, but a strategic component of the financing utilized and included $8.5 million in US Department of Treasury federally subsidized New Markets Tax Credits, made possible by a partnership between several Community Development Entities, including the Massachusetts Housing Investment Corporation, Building America, The Community Builders, and Banc of America Community Development Corporation, and arranged with private investor Bank of America. At critical decision-making junctures in the Project, the resulting $8.5 million in savings spared key elements of the vision, quality, and design of the building that now make such a conspicuous presence in Dudley Square.

Project History

Located in the heart of Roxbury, Dudley Square is a mass transit hub rich with culture and history. Working with partners in Roxbury the City managed the programming, design and development of the Bruce C. Bolling Municipal Building. The facility is the cornerstone of the late Mayor Thomas M. Menino's Dudley Square Vision Project that sought to revitalize the once-thriving urban neighborhood through a comprehensive planning process. Throughout the process the Boston Redevelopment Authority worked closely with the Dudley Vision Advisory Task Force, which provided community perspective on issues related to the Project’s programmatic goals and outcomes.

Dudley Square has been the beneficiary of many recent city investments, including the nearby LEED Silver-certified B-2 Police Station; the redesign and renovation of the Dudley Square Branch Public Library entrance; major utility upgrades that will benefit the overall neighborhood; and a redesign of the existing roadways in an effort to ease potential future traffic congestion. The City’s thoughtful planning of the future of Dudley Square has realized the creation of a large swath of developable vacant land situated between the new police station and the soon-to-be rehabilitated Dudley Branch of the Boston Public Library. With Mayor Walsh’s leadership, City investment combined with future opportunities will continue to spur private investment and innovative business development throughout Dudley Square and across Boston.

Statements from Project Partners

“With a combination of new markets tax credits allocation and equity capital invested through the Community Development Entities, Bank of America Merrill Lynch is pleased to be a part of the rebuilding and revitalization of Dudley Square. Through our Community Development Banking group, the bank has long supported the development of safe and healthy communities and is happy to lend a hand in preserving this historic neighborhood.” - Robert Gallery, Bank of America, Massachusetts President

“The AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust is proud to have played a role in the redevelopment of the Dudley Square community with the investment of $7.5 million of New Markets Tax Credits in the Bruce C. Bolling Municipal Center through its subsidiary Building America, Inc. This project, named for one of Boston’s true visionary leaders, will be a catalyst for other significant investments that will ensure the neighborhood’s place as a center of commerce in Boston’s communities of color.” - Tom O’Malley, Building America’s Chief Investment Officer

“The Community Builders is committed to strengthening neighborhoods and creating opportunities for residents to thrive. Roxbury residents have worked for a long time on the revitalization of Dudley Square. We are proud to join with the City of Boston and our Roxbury neighbors to bring a key financial resource to the Bolling building and spur further investment in the neighborhood.”  -  Bart Mitchell, President and CEO of The Community Builders

"As Dudley Square residents, we have always hungered to spend time in the square instead of just passing through it. We are thrilled to have so many new businesses opening here to revitalize our neighborhood. The fact that we will be able to be part of that redevelopment makes us elated. In Dudley Cafe, we will be providing freshly brewed coffee and baked goods. We will also feature pre-packaged snacks and meals from our existing places (Shanti Restaurant and MokSa Restaurant) - Solmon & Rokeya Chowdhury, Owners of The Dudley Cafe

“When we opened Haley House Bakery Cafe in 2005, Ferdinand's Blue Store (with its boarded blue-painted windows) was a hint to Dudley's rich commercial past. No longer girded by the elevated Orange Line, it lay in waiting for a new opportunity. We are excited that Mecanoo/Sasaki's integrated design for the Bolling Building is finally activated and occupied, prepared to become a civic and cultural hub for the Dudley community. We look forward to being an engaged partner in that hub, with our economic inclusion initiative, Dudley Dough!” – Bing Broderick, Executive Director of Haley House

“It’s an honor to be chosen among those who will help reconcile Dudley Square’s past with its ever approaching future by building a stronger community as a small business.  It is our hope to bring fashion to the forefront of this community to display the beauty of such a historic neighborhood. For 10 years our business model has been about customer service and we are glad to serve Dudley Square now.” - Catherine Hardaway, President & CEO Final Touch with Class Boutique, Dudley Vision Advisory Task Force

“Gallery Eyecare is proud to be Roxbury's only freestanding Optometric office and Optical shop. We are committed to changing how eye care is provided in our community. The office will be designed as a Visual Arts Gallery, featuring the artwork of local artist.  Merging vision with the visual arts, thus providing, "A Total Visual Experience." We are delighted to be involved with the vision of revitalizing Dudley Square, which was initiated by our Late Mayor Menino and completed by the City of Boston's current Mayor Martin Walsh.” - Dr. Lesa Dennis-Mahamed, O.D., Owner of Gallery Eye Care

“If ever there was a perfect fit for New Markets Tax Credit financing, and for MHIC’s involvement, it is the Bruce C. Bolling Municipal Building. For many years the city recognized that this building could be the centerpiece, the “crown jewel” of Dudley Square’s revival. New Market’s financing helped the city reduce its project borrowing and make this project work when there were major budget challenges. We are pleased to have partnered with the City, with Bank of America Merrill Lynch, The Community Builders, and Building America to help make this vision a reality and be part of rebuilding this important part of Boston.” - Joe Flatley, President and CEO of Massachusetts Housing Investment Corporation

“Since every student and parent in the state will visit the Bruce C. Bolling Municipal Building at least once, I wanted to create a building that is friendly, healthy and inspirational to people of all ages. A building that unites and re-engages the three existing facades of the Ferdinand, Curtis and Waterman, boldly looking to the future. I think it is a real Bostonian building with a Dutch touch. It celebrates Roxbury’s rich and vibrant past, instilling a sense of belonging and pride in everyone who uses it. For me, the Bruce Bolling Building signifies Dudley’s reborn presence.” - Francine Houben, creative director Mecanoo

“In designing the new office space for the Boston Public Schools, we wanted to give the employees something they didn’t have before – a space that encouraged conversation and collaboration, with offices and conference rooms located in the center and cubicles with low partitions around the perimeter to let in the natural light. Café tables and lounge areas offer alternative workspace options for impromptu meetings or those employees looking for a change of scenery. The feedback from employees so far has all been positive – they are using the space as it was intended and we couldn’t be happier.” - Victor Vizgaitis, principal at Sasaki Associates

“Shawmut Design and Construction is proud to have played a part in making the Bruce C. Bolling Building a reality. This project was a true partnership with the City of Boston, the design teams, the owner’s project management team, and most importantly, the people of Roxbury.” - Tom Goemaat, CEO of Shawmut Design and Construction

“SkyLab is excited to utilize our longtime presence in and knowledge of the needs in the Roxbury Community to tailor programming to meet and support the Mayor’s vision of innovation hubs across the city. As we move forward this summer, we will be refining our programming, asking partners to invest in our community, and empowering students, residents, existing business owners, and others with entrepreneurial spirit to do the necessary work to not only create economic stability but also build wealth. Our overarching goal is to demonstrate to residents, investors, thought leaders, startups, and other interested individuals and institutions that by working together we can all enjoy long-term, mutually beneficial relationships that provide value and the positive outcomes that we seek in our community and across the city.” - Bridgette Wallace, Founder of SkyLab

"Tasty Burger has been looking for a location in Dudley Square for over two years. Dudley is one of the most energetic and vibrant squares in Boston with a history second to none. We could not be more thrilled to be a part of this project." - Dave DuBois, Tasty Burger

"Innovation is about making new ideas real—it means collaboration, open communication, willingness to experiment and take risks. There is so much energy around innovation in Dudley Square. The Roxbury Innovation Center will be a place where local innovators—students, startups, business owners, creative thinkers--can connect with partners, mentors and resources to make their ideas grow." - Nicole Fichera, The Venture Café Foundation

"We are honored to be a part of this visionary collaboration at the Bolling Municipal Building. With the partnership of the City of Boston, the Boston Public Schools, SkyLab, and many others, the Roxbury Innovation Center will be a platform for experimentation and education in the heart of Boston, supporting growth in Roxbury’s vibrant innovation and entrepreneurship community." - Kevin Wiant, Executive Director of the Venture Café Foundation

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