AHF Announces Notch Brewing As Anchor Tenant at The Speedway

Speedway courtyard rendering
 Rendering of the restored Speedway courtyard. Courtesy of Bruner/Cott.

Boston, Massachusetts: Architectural Heritage Foundation (AHF) today announced plans for The Speedway, a revitalized destination to eat, drink, shop and gather in the historic Charles River Speedway Headquarters Administration Buildings in Brighton with Notch Brewing’s second brewery and taproom serving as its anchor retail tenant. Set to open in summer 2020, The Speedway will offer year-round discovery at the gateway to the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation’s (DCR) Charles River parklands in the City of Boston, restoring it into a vibrant, dynamic marketplace and gathering space for local Brighton neighbors and the broader Boston community alike.


The Speedway will transform the historic buildings of the site into 17,000 SF of unique and varied spaces that will become home to a collection of small format retail shops, local artisans and makers, small food purveyors and a full-service restaurant, event space, as well as non-profit and creative office space. All of these uses will surround an 8,000 SF courtyard with seating and space for public events and programs.


AHF also announced that Notch Brewing will open a taproom and brewery at The Speedway, becoming the project’s first tenant. This will be the first Boston-area location for the popular Salem-based craft beer brand. Notch’s beer garden will feature outdoor seating that spills out into the courtyard, enlivening the site throughout the week. Launched in 2010, Notch Brewing – named for the nick made to keep record when you’re having more than one – was the first brewing company in the U.S. to focus exclusively on session beers (flavorful yet highly drinkable beer of 4.5% ABV and lower).


“AHF is thrilled to rehabilitate the historic Charles River Speedway buildings into a revitalized destination to enjoy local fare, drink, craft, and community,” says AHF President Sean McDonnell. “We’re excited to partner with Notch to create a brewery and open-air taproom along the Charles River.”


“We’re thrilled that our second brewery and tap room will anchor this historic renovation. The Speedway is the perfect location for this expansion – it’s distinctive, historic, and we have great partners,” explained Chris Lohring, Notch’s Founder. “I can’t wait to pour the first liter and celebrate with our new community.”


Hearing this good news Representative Michael Moran (18 th District) said, “It has been a long road since we passed legislation to restore the historic Speedway. With the signing of Notch as a tenant, we are one step closer to making the Speedway the anchor of a revitalized Western Avenue.”


To make The Speedway project possible, AHF is proud to have partnered with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts through the DCR’s Historic Curatorship Program. Under this unique program, DCR partners with curators to rehabilitate, manage, and maintain historic properties in return for a long-term lease. The Speedway became eligible for DCR’s Historic Curatorship Program in 2011. Since 1994, DCR’s Historic Curatorship Program has partnered with outside parties to preserve 25 endangered properties across the Commonwealth, representing over $30 million in outside investment in significant historic resources. Reuses include residential farmhouses, non-profit facilities, house museums, an overnight mountaintop lodge, wedding and events facility, and a market/cafe.


“DCR’s Historic Curatorship Program serves as a great example of the Baker-Polito Administration’s continued efforts to foster strong partnerships with key stakeholders to achieve shared goals that directly benefit the public,” said DCR Acting Commissioner Jim Montgomery. “The Department is extremely excited to work with Architectural Heritage Foundation as the Speedway Administration Building is restored to its turn-of-
the-century appearance and becomes a vibrant destination for the community to enjoy.”


AHF and DCR worked closely with Representative Moran, Boston City Councilor Mark Ciommo (9 th District), and the Brighton community to bring this project to fruition. “Without the commitment of our legislators and the support of our community, The Speedway would not have been possible,” added McDonnell.


The Charles River Speedway was once a mile-long racetrack along the Charles River, and was one of the city’s most popular gathering areas after its opening in 1899. Located at 525 Western Avenue in Brighton, the buildings that supported the racetrack and were once the headquarters for the Charles River Reservation will soon become a revitalized destination for the Brighton community and beyond, bringing new energy and excitement back to the historic site.


The Speedway is now leasing space for small shops, food and beverage, makers and artisans, and creative office (from 250 – 5,000 SF). Graffito SP has been engaged to enlist tenants and can be reached at leasing@GraffitoSP.com.


Construction on The Speedway began this month, with financing support from Chase’s Community Development Banking Group, with an anticipated opening in summer 2020. Eastern Bank will provide construction lending. AHF will host an official groundbreaking ceremony and reception on Thursday, October 24, 2019 at 11am at The Speedway (please enter from 525 Western Avenue). All news and updates on the destination will be shared at charlesriverspeedway.com and on corresponding social media, including @charlesriverspeedway on Instagram.


About Architectural Heritage Foundation (AHF)


Founded in 1966, the Architectural Heritage Foundation is a not for profit organization dedicated to preserving and reactivating historic properties to stimulate community growth. AHF specializes in advancing stalled preservation projects, helping government agencies, communities, and private sector stakeholders to transform at risk historic real estate into economic and cultural assets. For more information, please visit ahfboston.com.


About Notch Brewing


Launched in 2010, Salem, Massachusetts’s Notch Brewing was the first brewing company in the U.S. to focus exclusively on session beer, which only has 4.5% alcohol or less. These lower alcohol styles bring people together for social occasions without the intoxicating effects of some of today’s popular craft beer styles. Notch’s focus on flavorful subtlety, and traditional European brewing practices, as well as the contemporary approaches of American craft beer, has garnered international renown from beer drinkers, industry peers, and the food and drink media. To learn more, please visit Notch’s Salem Tap Room and Brewery or online at notchbrewing.com.


About Department of Conservation & Recreation (DCR)


The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), an agency of the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, oversees 450,000 acres of parks and forests, beaches, bike trails, watersheds, dams, and parkways. Led by Acting Commissioner Jim Montgomery, the agency’s mission is to protect, promote, and enhance our common wealth of natural, cultural, and recreational resources.


About Graffito SP


Graffito SP is a real estate development and urban design firm focused on complex ground floor leasing and activation projects. Their approach embraces a local-first mentality that is steeped in the context of the places and spaces we work. To learn more about Graffito SP, please visit graffito.com.