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Situation:

Emerson College’s Paramount Center is a first-of-its kind mixed-use residential, academic, and performance venue. The 180,000 square-foot structure is a multi-use project that included the landmark restoration of Boston’s 1932-built Paramount Theater and a total reconstruction of two adjacent buildings at 545 Washington Street in downtown Boston. BOND provided construction management services for the new facility that now houses a 592-seat theater, a 125-seat black box theater, a 200-seat film-screening room, rehearsal studios, practice rooms, classrooms, and four floors of residence hall space for Emerson students.

Challenges:

  • Delivery of a meticulous restoration of the Boston landmark-designated Paramount Theater
  • Maintaining the 150-year-old historic exterior façade of the Washington Street properties while constructing the final, comprehensive facility
  • Safe abatement and disposal of buried lead-painted brick batts located directly below the site’s surface
  • Working on a zero lot line site within a very tight urban neighborhood

Solutions:

  • Utilization of historical photographs an extensive research to replicate specialized elements within the Paramount Theater, including castings of actual figurines, to restore the structure to its original appearance
  • Adherence to strict quality control procedures to ensure a superior restoration, including bi-weekly walk-throughs with key project team members and the inclusion of independent testing consultants for acoustics and lighting
  • Development of mitigation techniques to minimize disruption to 1,500 adjacent residents and businesses, including the maintenance of a temporary loading dock for the neighboring Boston Opera House throughout construction
  • Identification of safety and hazardous materials disposal for contaminated site materials

Results:

  • Successful restoration of a City of Boston landmark that received a Paul E. Tsongas Award from Preservation Massachusetts and a Preservation Achievement Award from the Boston Preservation Alliance
  • Completed project was a catalyst for urban restoration of other surrounding properties in Boston’s Downtown Crossing neighborhood