The Dorchester Bay Economic Development Corporation has begun a two-phase rehabilitation of the iconic Pierce Building on Columbia Road, part of the ongoing a plan to revitalize Uphams Corner as an arts and innovation district.
The first phase, including improvements to the first-floor retail space and a small-business loan center for entrepreneurs of color, is slated to be complete before this fall.
“It has long been our goal to restore the Pierce Building so it can serve as a sound and sustainable community resource and an anchor of the Uphams Corner area,” said Perry Newman, CEO of Dorchester Bay EDC.
Plans to convert the building’s existing Fairmount Innovation Lab into incubator space for local artists aligns with the Boston 2030 plan to boost Dorchester’s creative economy.
The Pierce Building once housed Boston’s first supermarket and Newman said the developer aims to “honor, enhance, and preserve” the building’s architectural and commercial significance.
“Preserving the character of Uphams Corner while bringing first-rate building technologies, first-rate living opportunities and first-rate artistic opportunities is an extraordinary task for us,” he said. “We would be doing a disservice to the community if we dismissed the character of this building, and it takes someone that is embedded in the community, who lives there and works there, to fully and respectfully rehabilitate a building like the Pierce Building.”
Phase two will include an interior modernization to improve the building’s upper stories and models the blueprint for the incubator space after Quincy Street’s Bornstein & Pearl Food Production Center, also a project developed by Dorchester Bay EDC.