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Conservatory breaks ground on the Ipswich Street Project

The Boston Conservatory held a ceremonial groundbreaking at 132 Ipswich Street on Thursday, May 16. Boston Conservatory President Richard Ortner hosted the event with other speakers including Chairman of the Board, Alfred D. Houston; Boston City Councillor, Mike Ross; President and COO of First Republic Bank Katherine August-deWilde and SVP/Fenway Affairs for the Boston Red Sox, Larry Cancro.

"The rebirth of this site as a new studio facility for the Boston Conservatory is not only a signal turning point in the history of the country's oldest performing arts conservatory, but it completes a perfect trifecta of Boston originals on this one block -- the Boston Red Sox, the Boston Arts Academy, and the Boston Conservatory," said Ortner. "As we approach our 150th anniversary, in 2017, we intend to be more visible, more embedded, and ever more effective as community partners."

The Conservatory purchased the property at 132 Ipswich Street in January 2012. Located directly across from Fenway Park, just 1,000 feet from the school's main building at 8 The Fenway and visible from the Mass Turnpike, the new building will house crucial new teaching and studio work space to accommodate the long-term needs of the Conservatory as it approaches its 150th anniversary in 2017.

Financing for the project was made possible by MassDevelopment, First Republic Bank and Zions Bank. MassDevelopment issued a $24.5 million tax-exempt bond on behalf of the Conservatory in November of 2011 to purchase and develop the 132 Ipswich property, as well as to refinance a previous bond. First Republic Bank purchased the bond, providing a tax-exempt debt structure. Underwriting and consulting to the Conservatory was provided by Zions Bank. First Republic subsequently provided a $7 million taxable term loan in May, 2013 to help bridge campaign proceeds related to fundraising efforts for the building. New York City-based Handel Architects designed the building and is working closely with construction manager, Shawmut Design and Construction of Boston.

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