Looking back to get a fix on new look in Fields Corner

Fields Corner: 1510-1514 Dorchester Ave. at Fields Corner Photo courtesy Fields Corner Main StreetFields Corner: 1510-1514 Dorchester Ave. at Fields Corner Photo courtesy Fields Corner Main Street

A non-profit preservation group and the city’s Fields Corner Main Street program are joining with the owner of a Dorchester Ave. commercial building to restore its storefront to its former glory.

Construction on a new façade is expected to start later this week or early next week on the 1510 to 1514 block on the avenue, a two-story building that dates to the 1890s and houses the Dorchester Youth Collaborative, a lingerie store, Magic Wok restaurant, Bargain City, and a dentist’s office. The building is next door to the Fields Corner branch library and across the street from the Blarney Stone restaurant.

Historic Boston Incorporated is working with Fields Corner Main Street and landlord Stephen Golden on the $260,000 project. Golden and Historic Boston are sharing the costs. Construction is likely to last eight to ten weeks, with painting held off until the spring, and could come in under budget.

For the improvements, officials from Historic Boston Incorporated and Fields Corner Main Street looked to photos from the early 1900s and mid-1900s for clues as to how the building looked, including pictures that showed stucco over the clapboards and the window trim.

“They’re going to restore it best as they can to sixty, seventy years ago,” Golden said. He has owned the property since 1987, when he bought it from his late father’s estate and several co-owners. While tenants have come and gone, the building, like others in the area, has stayed in family hands.

The planned improvements include repairing the wood cornice at the top of the building, replacing the second floor’s metal siding with clapboard, and adding double hung windows consistent with the building’s historic appearance. New storefronts and new siding on the first floor will also be installed, and the metal grates will be removed. New signs for the stores will be designed with the help of a graphic designer the city has hired. Door-opening devices for handicapped accessibility and better lighting will also be added. The brick sidewalk will be repaired. Evidence of past tenants remains on the building. Above the dentist’s office, a large brown sign that reads “Dorchester Podiatry Associates” will be removed.

“It’s a big win for Fields Corner,” said Evelyn Darling, executive director of Fields Corner Main Street.
Separately, Dorchester Youth Collaborative will be receiving a $15,000 grant to fix up their heating and air conditioning systems in their second floor offices.

Historic Boston Incorporated is also working to fix up the Lenox Cleaners building down the street, according to Jeffrey Gonyeau, a senior program manager in the organization. Construction on that project, which has a cost ranging between $75,000 and $80,000 and is aimed at similarly rehabilitating the façade, will start in the spring.

The Fields Corner neighborhood is one of two neighborhoods involved with HBI’s Historic Neighborhood Centers program. Cleary and Logan Squares in Hyde Park is the other. Historic Boston has been involved in a number of projects in Dorchester, including the Pleasant St. home of Anna Clapp Harris Smith, founder of the Animal Rescue League, All Saints Church in Ashmont, and St. Peter’s Church on Bowdoin Street.