Bancroft Lofts, Framingham - Mayor Thomas M. Menino Legacy Award
Bancroft Lofts is a 2023 Mayor Thomas M. Menino Legacy Award recipient!
The Bancroft is an excellent example of the preservation and adaptive reuse of an important part of Framingham’s industrial history. The conversion of this former mill gives the building/complex a renewed sense of purpose and life to a building that might have otherwise been demolished. While it is now a luxury residence, retains the integrity of location, design, setting, materials, workmanship, feeling, and association of the original 116-year-old shoe factory building.
The Bancroft is part of the Fountain Street Industrial Complex Historic District, which is made up of five well-preserved industrial manufacturing and support buildings constructed in the early part of the 20th century in South Framingham, Massachusetts. These buildings were originally used for the manufacture of shoes, textiles, leather goods, WWI canvas projects, machinery, and automobiles. The first building in this complex was built in 1907 by entrepreneur Richard H. Long, who built the R.H. Long Shoe Factory, which became renowned for producing Long's high-topped Waldorf Shoe, on the shoulder of Farm Pond at what is now 59 Fountain Street. Mr. Long later converted the factory to manufacture automobiles and associated parts, most notably his Bay State Automobile. It would later be used by the Bancroft Cap Co. for the manufacture of military caps and outerwear for children.
The first time that the developer heard about the deterioration of the Bancroft Factory Building they were skeptical if the property could even be rehabilitated and transformed into viable housing. However, once they toured the old building, they saw obvious potential. The Bancroft Building was in very bad shape in 2017, but the project team was confident that they could redevelop the building and give it a new life. After much diligence and planning by the team, they announced its plans to form a new 258 unit "residential community" at the site for a community of diverse individuals living and working in a dynamic new living space to be crafted from this storied building.
Given the Bancroft Building's exceptional design and incredible history, the project team was excited to have the opportunity to fully renovate the iconic mill building and to preserve its historic character. The redevelopment of old mill building complex into the Bancroft contributes to an already vibrant renaissance in downtown Framingham as the area has seen an increase in business diversity with the addition of several new restaurants and retail stores in recent years. Along with the much-needed new housing, long vacant commercial properties are springing to life.
In 2021, the Bancroft Building joined the list of historic Framingham factories that have been repurposed for 21st century living. But Bancroft Lofts, with its illustrious past, ideal location and state of the art amenities stands out among other residential units in Metro West. The project team hopes that the Bancroft residents enjoy their new homes as much as they enjoyed bringing the Bancroft Building back to life.
Congratulations to the whole project team!