For Immediate Release
October 25, 2013
Parks and Recreation
For More Information Contact:
The Boston Parks and Recreation Department’s adaptive reuse project that transformed the abandoned Men’s Comfort Station on Boston Common into the Earl of Sandwich restaurant was recognized with a 2013 Preservation Achievement Award at the 25th annual ceremony hosted by the Boston Preservation Alliance at the Paramount Center on October 21.
The Preservation Achievement Awards are bestowed annually to honor outstanding achievements in historic preservation and compatible new construction in Boston, as well as individuals and organizations that have contributed significantly to Boston’s historic built environment.
Built in the 1920s for use as a public toilet facility, the former Men’s Comfort Station was closed to the public from the 1970s until it was reopened in 2012 as a sandwich shop operated by the Florida-based franchised restaurant chain Earl of Sandwich.
Owned by the Boston Parks and Recreation Department, it is one of nine historic structures on Boston Common. Octagonal in shape and made of cast stone with remnants of a glazed copper roof, the structure required full rehabilitation and renovation of the interior and exterior, as well as reconnection of all utilities.
“The Earl of Sandwich Company now proudly resides in a restored structure with a new purpose: making customers out of the throngs of Boston Common visitors,” noted the Boston Preservation Alliance’s announcement of the award. “It brings new life to this part of the park and through careful design is fully accessible to all.”
The Parks Department’s goal was to lease the building following a competitive RFP process and public comment period as a means to rehabilitate and preserve the historic structure. With a compatible use identified, the Parks Department granted a 15-year lease to Earl of Sandwich calling for annual lease payments of $50,000 to the City of Boston and requiring the company to fully restore the building at their own expense. Due to the unusual history of the building, the official lease announcement made international headlines when it was announced in 2011.
“The transformation of this building from a decrepit, old restroom to a feature of the Common is nothing short of remarkable," said Greg Galer, Executive Director of the Boston Preservation Alliance. “This is a real example of turning a lemon into lemonade and has brought new energy and destination to the Common.”