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The Boston Conservatory Breaks Ground on Hemenway Project

Mayor Menino Joins Conservatory to Commemorate Beginning of New Construction and Renovation Project in the Fenway


BOSTON, MA—The Boston Conservatory, together with Mayor Thomas Menino, broke ground today on the “Hemenway Project,” a $30 million renovation and expansion of the Conservatory’s 60-year old theater building at 31 Hemenway Street in the Fenway cultural district. The project, scheduled for completion in fall 2010, will add 16,000 square feet of new rehearsal and studio performance space, as well as air conditioning, handicapped accessibility, improved seating and a host of technical upgrades in the 340-seat theater, elements currently absent from the theater building originally constructed in 1948. It is the first major facilities initiative undertaken by the institution in 50 years.

Boston Conservatory President Richard Ortner explains, “We have a great opportunity to transform this theater building and dramatically improve the learning and performing experience for our students, faculty and audiences. This project will also be a significant part of the Fenway Cultural District and a real gift to the city.”

Project Team
The extended Hemenway Project team includes architecture by Handel Architects, construction by Lee Kennedy Co. Inc. and construction project management by KVAssociates. Each firm selected brings an extensive background in management and execution of major building and restoration projects in Boston. Quincy-based Lee Kennedy Co., Inc. led the reconstruction of the Cutler Majestic Theatre (along with the new Tufte Performance & Production Center) at Emerson College and Sanders Theatre at Harvard University. KVAssociates has managed construction projects for Boston Residential Group, Boston Medical Center, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and WGBH Headquarters. Handel Architects designed the award-winning Ritz-Carlton, Boston for Millennium Partners, as well as the renovation of the Santa Barbara Bowl and the new Flushing Meadows Corona Park Natatorium and Ice Rink in New York City.

Funding and Financing
Funding for the $30 million Hemenway Project comes from a mix of financing and fundraising. The Conservatory has secured a $12 million long term loan through Wainwright Bank and secured an additional $5.6 million through the US Treasury Department’s New Markets Tax Credit program. The Massachusetts Housing Investment Corporation (MHIC) acted as principal syndicator of those credits, with participation of the Nonprofit Finance Fund and Coastal Enterprises, Inc., of Maine.

On the fundraising side, the Conservatory will raise $12 million in contributed funds as part of the Conservatory’s first capital campaign, which has an overall goal of $16 million. To date, the Conservatory has raised a total $10 million ($7 million for the Hemenway Project and the remainder for the annual fund and the endowment). Funding for the Hemenway Project has also been provided, in part, by the Cabot Family Charitable Trust, The Ensign-Bickford Foundation, Inc. and the Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund, a program of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, administered through a collaborative arrangement between MassDevelopment and the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

Temporary Relocation
With the 16-month-long theater renovation, the Conservatory will maintain its regular performance schedule, moving the majority of its mainstage productions to Midway Studios. Developed by a joint venture of the Fort Point Cultural Coalition and Keen Development, Midway Studios is the city’s largest artist building. In addition to 89 artist/live work studios, the building includes a flexible theater space, home to performances by the Actors Shakespeare Company, the Fort Point Theatre Channel and other groups, in recent months.

Classes that currently take place in the theater building at 31 Hemenway Street will be relocated to temporary rental spaces in the Fenway neighborhood where the Conservatory is headquartered. Similarly, faculty and administrative offices located in 31 Hemenway will be moved to rented or renovated space within the Conservatory’s current campus.

Diversified Project Management of Newton, MA managed the large task of vacating the 31 Hemenway building—which has been continuously occupied since its construction in 1949— and relocating academic and performance materials and equipment into temporary spaces. They will also coordinate the relocation to the newly renovated Hemenway project in September 2010.

Impact to Fenway Neighborhood
Working closely with the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA), The Boston Conservatory has held a series of meetings informing neighbors of the specific building plans and impact to the neighborhood.

“We know that the early stages of construction will present challenges to our neighborhood, but we are committed to working closely with our neighbors during the process to ensure the best possible outcomes for all,” says Ortner.

For more information about the Hemenway Project,

About The Boston Conservatory
The Boston Conservatory trains exceptional young performing artists for careers that enrich and transform the human experience. Known for its intimate and supportive multi-disciplinary environment, The Boston Conservatory offers fully accredited graduate and undergraduate programs in music, dance and theater, and presents more than 200 performances each year by students, faculty and guest artists. Since its founding in 1867, The Boston Conservatory has shared its talent and creativity with the city of Boston, the region and the nation, and continues to grow today as a vibrant community of artists and educators. For more information, visit

Joyce Linehan
(617) 282-2510

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