Old City Hall
Old City Hall is AHF’s signature project and first redevelopment. Designed by renowned local architects Gridley Bryant and Arthur Gilman, this ornate building was the focal point of Boston’s political life for over a century. Thirty-four mayors served in the hall between 1865 and 1969. Once the city administration outgrew the space, however, the building closed. The public associated it with corruption and had tired of its French Second Empire extravagance. With the construction of Government Center and City Hall Plaza underway, demolition seemed imminent.
Whereas most considered Old City Hall a white elephant, AHF regarded it as an opportunity. In 1969, we won stewardship of the building and redeveloped it into restaurant and office space. We preserved the entire exterior while modifying the interior for modern use and improved accessibility. For the next fifty years we managed the property under a long-term lease, which we sold in 2017. Today, Old City Hall is a thriving commercial space and tourist attraction. Perhaps most importantly, the Old City Hall project became a national example: proving that saving a historic building in downtown Boston wasn’t just a nice thing to do – it made economic sense.