The Charles River Speedway has been reimagined as a new complex to support a variety of commercial spaces and serve as a new gateway to the Allston-Brighton Neighborhood. The complex is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a Boston Historic Landmark. An irregular roofline connects six shingle-style buildings, creating a single-story courtyard. The arched gable entrances, porches, double hung windows and elaborate wood trim create an overall composition characteristic of William D Austin’s architectural work for the Metropolitan Park Commission.
The Speedway was constructed in 1899 by the Metropolitan Park Commission as a headquarters to support the new parkway along the Charles River, a park that turned a stretch of tidal mudflats into an interconnected series of public parks. This development included a mile-long horse and bicycle racetrack, which became one of the city’s most popular gathering areas. In later years, the facility housed the now-defunct Metropolitan District Commission Police. Many of the original horse stables were extended and converted into vehicular garages to support the agency. Since 2005, the facility had been largely abandoned. Portions of the building have begun to decay; one section suffered a fire.
Bruner/Cott worked alongside Architectural Heritage Foundation to revitalize and preserve the historic complex. The Speedway now supports a diverse tenant mix including small retail shops and maker spaces, shared offices, a restaurant, café, a publicly-accessible community courtyard, and anchor tenant Notch Brewing.
Historic photos courtesy of MASS DCR. Finished Building photos courtesy D.F. Pray General Contractors.
2022 Boston Preservation Alliance | Preservation Achievement Award
2022 Preservation Massachusetts | Robert H. Kuehn, Jr. Preservation Award
2022 Retrofit | Metamorphosis Award, Adaptive Reuse, 1st Place
2022 The Plan Award | Mixed-use, Shortlist
ArchitectureBoston, Shifting Gears, authored by Henry Moss AIA
BD+C, Bruner/Cott Architects Revives a Historic Horse and Bicycle Racing Complex
Boston.com, What’s in store at The Speedway, Brighton’s new open-air market
Commercial Construction & Renovation, Historic 1899 Horse & Bicycle Racing Complex Revived
Eater Boston, Notch Brewing Opens at the Charles River Speedway
Edible Boston, The Charles River Speedway: Nearing the Finish Line at a Dynamic, Open-Air Marketplace
High-Profile, ‘The Speedway’ Restoration Completed
Historic Boston Incorporated, Historic Speedway the New Verve of Allston-Brighton
Retrofit Magazine, Community Investment: An Increasingly Dense Boston Neighborhood Receives a Versatile New Public Courtyard with 21st Century Amenities within 19th Century Buildings