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Summer Street Apartment, Leominster - Mayor Thomas M. Menino Legacy Award

Summer Street Apartments is a 2023 Mayor Thomas M. Menino Legacy Award recipient!

The property at 41 Summer Street, historically known as the Emerson and Sophia Prescott House, was constructed ca. 1840 and originally served as worker housing for mills in Leominster’s downtown. The Greek Revival style red brick building was owned by a number of local industrialists throughout its history, including the W.S. Reed Toy Company, and housed workers from a broad range of Leominster’s industries. Typically of wood frame construction, its execution in red brick is even rarer. The building typifies the usually smaller-scale, and often privately owned historic worker housing characteristic of Leominster. It is one of few purpose-built multi-family properties which survive from the period. The building is also a rare local example of such working-class housing immediately adjacent to a factory complex.

The rehabilitation of 41 Summer Street preserved and enhanced this significant building in downtown Leominster and contributed to the on-going revitalization efforts in the downtown area. The downtown has seen significant disinvestment over the last 50 years resulting in a high vacancy rate and the loss of several historic structures. Prior to Cougar Capital Management’s acquisition of the building, it had served as a boarding house for the majority of its history. In recent years it housed single-room occupancy affordable rental units and suffered from decades of deferred maintenance and insensitive alterations. The project restored the historic appearance of the building’s exterior, replacing non-historic vinyl windows with historically appropriate sash based on historic photographs, repaired deteriorating masonry, and converted the property’s attached garage for residential use with limited exterior alterations. At the interior, all new building systems were sensitively inserted and historic window and door trim, doors, and the historic main staircase were retained and preserved. The project replaced communal kitchen and bathroom facilities with private bathrooms and kitchens within the new units.

The successful rehabilitation of the building by Cougar Capital Management halted the building’s continued deterioration and ensured its preservation for the future. As a result of the use of federal historic tax credits, the building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2021.

Congratulations to the project team!


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