This commercial building with classical details is part of the original fabric of Nubian Square and welcomes those entering the historic neighborhood from the east. Since its construction, the building has played a central role in the culture of Nubian Square and it has become a symbol of the neighborhood. Built in stages starting in the 1880s and into the early 1900s, the structure is actually three buildings pieced together over time. For many years it housed the ethnic supermarket and neighborhood anchor Tropical Foods (El Platanero). Madison Park Development Corporation purchased the property in 2011 and recently rehabilitated it into a mixed-use building with retail on the street level and 30 residential units above. Sixteen of the units will be rented to households earning no more than 60% of the area median income, five units at 70 percent, and nine at market rate.
The project team experienced many challenges in the process of reviving this building. Walls were deteriorating and the whole northeast facade needed to be replaced. The team carefully examined the historic integrity of the building to preserve the two viable elevations and to use an architectural language compatible with the building and its surroundings.
Greg Galer, Executive Director of the Boston Preservation Alliance had said this about the project: “With this project Madison Park CDC demonstrates that buildings carry valuable elements of community memory and sense of place for neighborhood residents. Their investment here not only provides critical affordable housing and retail opportunities for local businesses but bolsters community pride through the connections between past present and future.”