Thomson Place

Relying on old photos and architectural drawings, this renovation created a vibrant retail and dining destination.

Margulies Perruzzi Architects' retail activation plan for Thomson Place calls for the restoration and repositioning of three historic buildings at 47 Farnsworth Street and 25 and 44 Thomson Place with new ground-floor retail space and a new pedestrian plaza to create a vibrant retail and dining destination.

With a change of tenant profiles in the buildings, the development team saw the opportunity to convert ground-floor office space to street-level retail and restore the buildings’ architectural luster in the process. Dating to the early part of the 20th century, the Thomson Place neighborhood was a booming industrial area of brick and beam warehouse buildings. To facilitate the unloading of raw materials into the warehouse, the original buildings featured window openings six feet above today’s sidewalk, a prohibitive feature for an active modern streetscape.

Relying on old photos and original architectural drawings discovered in one of the buildings, MPA’s design restores the historic building façades by opening bricked-up windows, reintroducing shutters on the upper level, and adding back long-forgotten architectural flourishes. The giant openings once used for unloading goods will become glass façades with lighting and signage to draw people into retail and restaurant establishments. To energize and enliven the streetscape, the master plan calls for widened sidewalks to encourage pedestrian traffic and the creation of a new courtyard plaza with green space for dining and performance art.

MPA’s design lowers the floors and window openings to provide accessibility, and create sight lines and visual connection from the street.