Landmark CenterEdit profile
Landmark Center in Boston, Massachusetts is a commercial center situated in an art deco building built in 1929 for Sears, Roebuck and Company. It features a 200-foot-tall (61 m) tower and, as Sears Roebuck and Company Mail Order Store, it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Derelict for a time before being reopened in fall 2000, the restorations and modifications made to this limestone and brick structure have received critical acclaim.
Landmark Center now houses retail stores (including Best Buy, REI and Staples), a 13-screen movie theater, a 1,700-space parking garage, a sports complex and a day care center.
Much of the rest is premium office space, a good deal of it occupied by tenants related to the medical field and the nearby Longwood Medical and Academic Area. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Massachusetts is the building's anchor and occupies the majority of its office space. Most of the additional offices are rented by Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health.
The building is located at the intersection of Park Drive and Brookline Avenue where the Riverway and the Back Bay Fens, two links of the Emerald Necklace park system designed in the 19th century by Frederick Law Olmsted, meet. As it is the tallest building in its vicinity, the top of the Landmark Center provides panoramic views of the Charles River, adjacent Cambridge, and the Great Blue Hill in Milton.
The Landmark Center building was designed by George C. Nimmons in 1928. For nearly sixty years it served as a warehouse and distribution center for Sears, Roebuck and Company and offered local bargain-hunters an opportunity to obtain merchandise at below-catalog prices.
Sears closed the distribution center in January, 1988, and the building became vacant. Various developers investigated new uses for the property and it came close to being demolished several times.
The Landmark Center has a sister building that was also originally designed for Sears in Minneapolis, Minnesota. That building was recently converted into a bustling urban center called the Midtown Exchange, and it also has an international bazaar and food court known as the Midtown Global Market. Like Boston's Landmark Center, the Minneapolis Midtown Exchange has a large medical group as a cornerstone in the building.
After purchasing the former Sears property, The Abbey Group (a Boston-based real estate concern) contracted the architectural firm of Bruner/Cott & Associates to transform it into a profitable rental space.
Bruner/Cott executed this transformation with a special consideration for the original character of the building while adding such distinctive features as a seven-story tall interior space lit by colossal skylights that deliver natural light to interior office spaces. Their results have been recognized with awards including the following:
- 2001 Preservation Achievement Award, Boston Preservation Alliance
- 2001 Reconstruction Award, Building Design & Construction
- 2002 Preservation Award, Massachusetts Historical Commission