It was a building that remained idle for decades until an East Boston husband and wife team had a vision of transforming the former Welfare building on Maverick Street into small business incubator.
The Tylers worked for years permitting, constructing and restoring the historic brick building at 154 Maverick St. into a marketplace for small business, professional offices and residences.
With the building about to celebrate its one year anniversary on August 9 and 10 with a community celebration, the Boston Preservation Alliance recently announced the Tylers work was among 10 high profile, big budget projects that received the 2014 Boston Preservation Alliance award.
It was a rare occasion as the award is not usually given to a husband and wife team that used their own funds and labor to complete a restoration project of a former public building.
After a fierce competition though, the BPA called the Tylers project and the other nine that received award, “our strongest group of nominations in the Award’s twenty-six year history”. The Alliance selected winners based on their outstanding contributions to preservation and the character of Boston’s built environment.
“Recognition of the hard work of our team that completed this two-year renovation is important to us” said John Tyler. “I am really proud of my wife, Melissa who was not only the vision and driving force of this project but also the General Contractor in charge of the day-to-day work on the building”.
Melissa Tyler said the award is really a great accomplishment for the Eastie neighborhood project.
“But what really makes us proud is the 17 new businesses that call the building home,” she said. “They are generating jobs and wealth for their families on a corner of Maverick square that had been abandoned and empty for 24 years”.
In a joint statement John and Melissa Tyler said “We wish to thank the City of Boston’s Department of Neighborhood Development, and First Priority Credit Union whose faith in us enabled this project to go ahead and allow us to show that small, local developers can invest in their communities and produce huge results. We would like to thank our elected officials who helped support this project from the initial Request For Proposal, to zoning and permitting and to occupancy permit. Most of all we would like to thank the community of East Boston that visit the building and do business within it.”
Previous BPA winners from Eastie include the Sumner Street Firehouse that houses Zumix and the Barnes School at 127 Marion Street.
The Tylers will be honored for their achievement October 21, 2014 ceremony at Faneuil Hall.
“Historic preservation is both a community and an individual activity. Neighborhoods benefit immensely and support restored and adaptively used historic buildings, but it takes the fortitude of a company leader, or in this case a few dedicated individuals. Maverick Marketplace is the personal mission of John and Melissa Tyler,” said BPS Executive Director, Greg Galer. “They creatively returned an abandoned civic building back into an asset to the community. More personal sweat equity likely went into this project than any of our other winners. Boston would benefit from more individuals like the Tylers.”