> PROFILE BY CLAIRE SWEDBERG
AS PART OF BOSTON’S WATERFRONT renaissance,
American shoe company Converse has opened its new headquarters in a facility that housed manufacturing and storage for
most of its almost century-long life. The building may be state-of-the-art in terms of energy efficiency and aesthetic design,
but it also harkens back to its industrial roots along the Charles
River. The renovation, with electrical installation by McDonald
Electrical Corp. (MEC) of Hingham, Mass., showcases both the
building’s history and the latest in corporate meeting spaces.
Founded in 1999, MEC includes a utility division and a telecommunications and security division.
The 214,000-square-foot Hoffman Building sits at 160
North Washington Street. It maintains an open space that once
accommodated heavy equipment and stacks of pallets but now
features offices and cubicles designed to be modern and active.
MEC provided the light-emitting diode (LED) and fluorescent lighting in open ceilings, power drops to individual work
stations, and lighting controls. The renovation also includes a
public-use recording studio for local musicians with a sound
system and lighting, and a 3,500-square-foot flagship retail store.
For all of these features, MEC ran the new electrical distribution system and branch circuitry. It also installed the
uninterruptible power supply and fire alarm system, said Mike
Lawlor, MEC project executive and project manager.
McDonald Electrical Corp. helps
renovate Converse’s Boston HQ FOOTWORK FOOTWORK
The renovation is part of the city’s redevelopment plan to
attract businesses and the public to the historic waterfront.
The city replaced the existing wharf in ¾-acre sections. Today,
retail spaces and offices supplant warehouses, workshops and
The project consisted of redeveloping existing buildings that
housed goods as early as 1909 when the wharf was constructed.
The Hoffman Building—once a warehouse for candy company
Schrafft’s—had sat unoccupied for several years and was becoming run down.
In turning the aging building into a 21st-century office
space, Converse focused on maintaining the historic architecture while making it energy efficient and appealing to workers
and members of the public.
The office portion of the building adheres to modern trends by
encouraging its tenants to be active and engaged, with a gym
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