Features

  • 47 artist live-work spaces ranging from 1000–2600 s.f.
  • Nine-story building built 1898, brick and steel beam construction
  • Passenger elevator + ADA-compliant freight elevator
  • Café space owned by the cooperative
  • 7 commercial units (7-9 independently owned businesses)
  • Art gallery and office run by the Fort Point Arts Community, Inc.
  • Trash/recycle room
  • Laundry room
  • Roof deck
  • Storage/darkroom space (very limited availability)

There is no deeded parking associated with the building. Residents who own cars either obtain resident parking stickers and park them on the street or pay to keep them in local garages. Zipcars and car rental options are available nearby.

No work-only space is available.

Location

300 Summer Street is located in Boston's vibrant Fort Point neighborhood and is near:

  • South Station - Amtrak, MBTA Subway and Commuter Rail, regional and national bus service
  • Interstates 90 and 93
  • Harborwalk and waterfront
  • Downtown Boston and Seaport District
  • Logan Airport
  • Institute of Contemporary Art

Cooperative History

To address the shortage of legal, affordable artist live/work space, the Fort Point Arts Community (FPAC), a non-profit advocacy organization for Boston’s artists, acquired 300 Summer Street in 1992. Keen Development was hired as development consultant and construction manager to convert the property into 48 live/work studios and 7 arts-related commercial condominiums. The renovation scope was extensive but held to a budget of less than $70 per square foot (total development costs) to maintain affordability.

FPAC chose a limited equity cooperative form of homeownership (one share of stock and proprietary lease per member) for the lofts, which allowed the group to restrict occupancy to visual artists and also ensured that share prices would remain relatively affordable over time. Although financing such co-ops can be challenging, Keen secured construction and permanent loans to complete the development. The result was the opening in 1995 of a thriving artist-owned building.

Developer: Fort Point Arts Community
Consultant: Keen Development Corporation
Architect: Heder Architects, Inc.
Contractor: CWC Builders, Inc.

Building History

300 Summer Street c. 1902-1907; Jeremiah Williams and Co., wool. Boston Wharf Co. Photo. Boston Public Library collection

The building at 300 Summer Street is a historic structure originally built for Boston’s wool trade in 1898 by the Boston Wharf Company. With large windows, abundant light, and views of downtown Boston and the harbor, the building was perfectly suited for conversion to artist lofts.

The southern sides of the lower levels of the building feature an exposed seawall from the early days of filling the “South Boston Flats.” The steel-reinforced concrete beams include iron fasteners from which once hung bales of wool. The modest arching stairwell tiles are by architect and builder Rafael Guastavino.

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