Since 1968 this Community Development Corporation has been providing affordable housing, education, workforce development and arts programs in the South End. In addition to maintaining 435 units of housing, they provide a preschool, youth, college and workforce training programs and a community technology training center. A beautiful deconsecrated church at 85 West Newton Street serves as the Villa Victoria Center for The Arts, incorporating a stunning performance space, an art gallery, dance and art studios and offices for their numerous educational programs. A tiny, elegant turn-of-the-century office building at 405 Shawmut Avenue serves as the organization’s headquarters.
Since 2008 Smith + St. John has been working closely with IBA to upgrade the organization’s real estate assets. Beginning with the infrastructure and performance facilities at 85 West Newton Street, projects have included making the entire performance space handicap accessible, installing a new electrical service, a new performance audio system and renovating the audience amenities, including restrooms and bar.
At 405 Shawmut Smith + St. John has been involved with a series of studies to identify highest and best use of the building, and to create a program of restoration of this small South End gem. Fundraising is presently ongoing to implement the program.
IBA’s largest building is the 6-story apartment building at 100 West Dedham. Here we managed the multi-phased renovation of the mixed uses on the ground floor. In addition to the main elevator lobby for 75 residential units, the project included the renovation of a youth center, a community room, a laundromat, a technology education center, IBA’s central security office and management offices for the community education programs.
These projects require a unique combination of services. We are often involved at a very early stage, looking to match available grants to budgets. A number of projects have been waiting for funding for some years, and we are always looking for additional grant opportunities. We have become adept at tailoring scope and finding sympathetic consultants, contractors and vendors, and at managing the process to ensure that IBA receives maximum value for their project dollars.
We are presently engaged in managing the rehab of a group home for challenged individuals, and in planning for the renovation of the small historic office building that is IBA’s headquarters. Longer-term projects include the historic rehabilitation of the envelope and systems at 85 West Newton.