Beacon Communities, PCA Transform Historic Ames Shovel Works into 113-Unit Rental Complex

Boston-based developer Beacon Communities completed a $46 million revitalization project at the Ames Shovel Works, a 19thcentury industrial complex in North Easton, Ma., that was listed as one of the 11 most endangered historic sites in the U.S.

Boston-based developer Beacon Communities completed a $46 million revitalization project at the Ames Shovel Works, a 19thcentury industrial complex in North Easton, Ma., that was listed as one of the 11 most endangered historic sites in the U.S.

Ames Shovel Works

Ames Shovel Works

The granite and wood factory complex at 50 Main Street is made up of 15 buildings spanning 8 acres of land. It was constructed in 1852 to 1928 by the Ames Shovel Company and is closely linked to the California Gold Rush, the great expansion of railroads and the American Civil War, when an iron shovel was almost as valuable as a rifle. The Ames Shovel Company ceased production in Easton in early 1950, and the complex was used by a variety of office, warehouse and light industrial businesses until 2009 when it was acquired by Beacon Communities for $6 million from property owners George and Robert Turner—whose previous demolition plans had mobilized city officials and community members to find a redevelopment alternative that would preserve the historical asset.

The Ames Shovel Works redevelopment project is the key component of the North Easton Village Revitalization Plan that also includes a makeover of the business center and a new wastewater treatment facility and sewer collection system that would serve the apartment community and more than 70 businesses in the area.

Designed by Prellwitz Chilinski Associates (PCA) to be a national model for preserving historic resources, the 117,000-square-foot mixed-use complex has 113

Ames Shovel Works

Ames Shovel Works

rental housing units adjacent to a 1.6-acre neighborhood open space that connects Main Street to the Ames site. Furthermore, a historic storage building was repurposed for the property’s maintenance staff, while a single family house was transformed into offices, gallery space and studios for the Easton Chamber of Commerce and the Easton Shovel Town Cultural District Art Co-Op. One of the unique challenges in this project was finding around 700 historically windows that would fit correctly in the window openings throughout the buildings while being energy efficient. Eventually Beacon Communities selected Marlborough-based Universal Window and Door, LLC to provide the windows that were financed through $10.35 million in state and federal historic tax credits.

The adaptive reuse project is expected to receive LEED for Home Gold and Silver certifications from the US Green Building Council, the development team announced recently.

 

Renderings courtesy of Prellwitz Chilinski Associates