AHF Announces Nonprofit Tenants at The Speedway

Boston, Massachusetts: Architectural Heritage Foundation (AHF) is proud to announce the official opening of The Speedway, a revitalized complex of historic buildings located at 525 Western Avenue in Brighton.

The project, which has been years in the making, officially broke ground in 2019. Now open to the public, the complex of historic buildings features a mix of unique and varied spaces – including a brewery and taproom, small format retail shops, flexible event space, and nonprofit and creative office space – all surrounding a large courtyard with a Biergarten and seating and space for public events and programs. Anchor tenant Notch Brewing opened its doors in July, and events are being held at Garage B, and other retail and food vendors are actively coming online.

After a year and a half of COVID-related construction delays, moving timelines, and the overall complexity of the project, AHF and the Speedway are ready to celebrate and meet their neighbors with the first annual Labor Day Block Party on Saturday, September 4 from 2-6 pm. The afternoon-long event will introduce the greater community to the dynamic open-air marketplace and its new and forthcoming inhabitants. When fully open later this fall, The Speedway will be a place to enjoy fresh beer, inventive and delicious food options, creative gifts, and even receive a one-of-a-kind haircut. The courtyard and flexible event space at Garage B offer opportunities for pop-up markets, live concerts, family entertainment, and fitness classes. “As we draw closer to the finishing line, we want to invite in the world to see the incredible transformation that has taken place at The Speedway, ” explained Markos Doyle, General Manager of The Speedway. ”We are thrilled to have the opportunity to introduce our greater community to the rich collection of small businesses and nonprofit organizations that call The Speedway home. A Labor Day Block Party is the perfect chance for us to meet our new neighbors and show them around.”

The Speedway is home to a large, European-style beer hall and outdoor Biergarten from Notch Brewing, a popular Salem-based craft beer brand. 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). “We’re very excited to have the new Brewery, Tap Room & Biergarten at the Charles River Speedway open this summer,” says Chris Lohring, founder of Notch. “We look forward to being a part of the diverse collection of small businesses at the Speedway, as well as being a part of the vibrant and growing community in Brighton.” In addition, Notch will host live music and release a special beer to commemorate the Block Party. The Biergarten and taproom are currently open seven days a week.

Across the courtyard, the complex’s former horse stalls have been transformed into the “Shops at the Stables” – six small-scale retail storefronts that will become home to a mix of local businesses. On the path to opening this fall, several of these new tenants will showcase their food, drinks, and crafts for event-goers on September 4. The Speedway’s Upper Courtyard will host a candle making tutorial from local maker Steysy Clark of the House of Art and Craft, a scented candle and aromatherapy shop. Tipping Cow Ice Cream, run by David Lindsey and Gerly Adrien, will offer up several of their creative rotating flavors, perfect for a late-summer holiday weekend. Sake sommelier Alyssa Mikiko DiPasquale, who is aiming to open her much-anticipated Koji Club later this fall, will share samples and a taste of what’s to come in her space. Other tenants include Bellweather Salon, a one-chair hair boutique by veteran stylist Melinda Brandt; Notch Provisions, a new culinary concept from the Notch Brewery team, featuring beer-friendly takeout options and merchandise; Hummus v’Hummus, a new “hummuseria” from Chef Avi Shemtov; and Super Bien, a Latin American–inspired “grocery bar” concept from Melissa Stefanini, founder of Buenas.

The Block Party celebration will also feature live music, outdoor yoga classes, lawn games, and face painting and balloon art for the kids (and kids at heart). The complex’s flexible event space, Garage B, will host a collection of Allston-Brighton nonprofit organizations, including Allston Brighton CDC, Brighton Main Streets, and CommonWheels. The Speedway’s two nonprofit tenants, the Fishing Academy and the Friends of Herter Park will also be present at the Block Party.

About the Speedway Nonprofit Program 

To commemorate National Nonprofit Day this week, The Speedway and AHF announced that they would be welcoming two organizations to their dedicated nonprofit office space – the Friends of Herter Park and the Fishing Academy. “The Speedway’s

origins are as a resource for the public and the greater good, so we are thrilled to have the opportunity to welcome two nonprofit organizations to share the space,” said AHF’s Kara Anderson, Senior Project Manager and Director of Preservation. “We are particularly enthusiastic about the missions of the Friends of Herter Park and the Fishing Academy, and their strong connections to the Charles River.”

One of the key goals for the Speedway is to help facilitate the reconnection of the community to the broad recreational amenities of the Charles River. This announcement culminates a months-long application process, where local Brighton and Allston nonprofit organizations were invited to apply to become tenants. The office space was made available for a three-year lease at the cost of $1/year.

About The Speedway 

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 are now a revitalized destination for the Brighton community and beyond, bringing new energy and excitement back to the historic site.

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. DCR selected AHF’s proposal in 2014, and construction began in 2019. The Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance (DCAMM) facilitated the complex real estate transactions on behalf of DCR.

The transformative and complex project was supported by state and federal historic rehabilitation tax credits, New Markets tax credits, and City of Boston Community Preservation Act funds.

AHF and DCR also worked closely with Representative Michael Moran, Boston City Councilor Mark Ciommo (9th District), and the Brighton community to bring this project to

fruition. Financing support came from Chase’s Community Development Banking Group and Twain Financial, with Eastern Bank providing construction lending.

Bruner/Cott Architects led the design team, and DF Pray provided construction management services. Graffito SP is handling leasing and retail consulting for the project.

There are still some leasing opportunities at The Speedway; inquiries can be made at leasing@GraffitoSP.com. Anyone interested in hosting an event at Garage B can contact events@charlesriverspeedway.com. All news and updates on the destination will be shared at charlesriverspeedway.com and on corresponding social media, including @charlesriverspeedway and @garagebevents 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.