Filene's Department Store

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Filene's Department Store
Filenes Department Store Boston.jpg
Location Boston, Massachusetts
Coordinates 42°21′19.78″N 71°3′36.82″W / 42.3554944°N 71.0602278°W / 42.3554944; -71.0602278Coordinates: 42°21′19.78″N 71°3′36.82″W / 42.3554944°N 71.0602278°W / 42.3554944; -71.0602278
Built 1911
Architect Daniel H. Burnham & Co.
Architectural style Beaux Arts
Governing body Private
NRHP Reference #

86001909

[1]
Added to NRHP July 24, 1986

Filene's Department Store was a historic department store building at 426 Washington Street in Downtown Crossing, Boston, Massachusetts. It was the flagship store of the Filene's department store chain. The building has been demolished; its historic Beaux-Arts facade is expected to be restored as part of the Millenium Partners redevelopment of the site.

History[edit]

The building was completed in 1912 as a new flagship location for William Filene and Sons' department store, better known as Filene's. By 1929 Filene’s expanded the flagship building, converting the whole block around Washington, Summer, Hawley and Franklin streets into one department store.[2] This was the last major project by legendary Chicago architect Daniel Burnham and his only work in Boston. This building was widely regarded as one of the best examples of Beaux Arts architecture in Boston.

Filene's in an early 20th-century postcard

In 1986, the Filene's Building was added to the National Register of Historic Places. In 2006, Filene's stores were merged with Macy's phasing out the Filene's name. In a normal store merger, the old stores are converted into the new stores. But this was a problem in Boston, because the Filene's building was located across the street from another Macy's store. When Filene's did close, the Boston Landmark Commission unanimously voted to protect two of the historic buildings that housed Filene's in Boston. The two oldest buildings were protected including the main 1912 Filene's store building and a 1905 former glassware and china seller's building on the opposite corner.[3] Two newer buildings, built in 1951 and 1973, were not protected, and were demolished in 2008.

After the store closed, the building was put up for sale and was eventually bought by Vornado Realty Trust of New York. Vornado teamed up with Gale International for a $700 million redevelopment of the Filene's site. The project contained a 39-story tower including a 280-room hotel, 125-seat restaurant, 475,000 square feet (44,100 m2) of office space, 166 residential condos, 300,000 square feet (28,000 m2) of retail space, and an adjacent park.[4] Although the Filene’s Building is protected by the Landmark Commission, it only protected the facade of the buildings. This allowed the developers of the site to rip out the building's interior, leaving the exterior to stand on its own. However, when the project ran out of money, the site was left completely gutted and missing an outer wall. The city of Boston eventually revoked the permit on the project.[5]

The site was taken over by another developer, Millennium Partners of New York. Plans include 135,000 square feet (12,500 m2) of retail on the lower floors and nearly 200,000 square feet (19,000 m2) office space on the upper floors, including a restoration of many original architectural details. The project also includes a glass tower next door, which will contain 450 luxury residences and another 95,000 square feet (8,800 m2) of retail space.[5]

Irish clothing company Primark plans to open its first US store in late 2015 on this site.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2007-01-23. 
  2. ^ http://www.dshistory.com/stores/filenes_boston/ Remembering Great American Department Stores
  3. ^ http://www.boston.com/realestate/news/articles/2006/05/10/city_makes_filenes_site_a_landmark/ City makes Filene's site a landmark Two of 4 buildings must be preserved
  4. ^ "City OK's redevelopment of historic Filene's block". The Boston Globe. August 18, 2007. 
  5. ^ a b "Filene’s project to resume as major tenant signed". Boston Globe. Retrieved 12 September 2013.