After a $150 million rehabilitation and expansion project, people are now paying to stay in the historic Charles Street Jail in Boston. The jail was open from 1851 to 1990, when deteriorating conditions forced it to close. With support from city historic and development organizations, the building has been preserved and converted into the ironically named Liberty Hotel.

During renovation, the goal was to preserve as many features of the jail as possible. The former jail was transformed into 18 suites and several public spaces, including the Scampo restaurant (Italian for “escape”) and Alibi lounge, the jail's old “drunk tank.” A new, 16-story, 280-room adjoining tower also was added.

The architect, historians, conservationists, and masonry restoration experts collaborated to achieve a careful balance between preservation and modern functionality. PBS Construction made extensive efforts to preserve existing brick for the lobby and reception areas, and salvaged existing granite for landscaping and connecting the new and old buildings.

Project Participants

Masonry Contractor: PBS Construction, Boston, Mass.

Lead Architect: Cambridge Seven Associates, Cambridge, Mass.

Material Supplier: The Quikrete Companies, Atlanta, Ga.

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