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Dudley Square’s Historic Ferdinand Building To Be Renamed

Boston City Councilor Bruce Bolling, right, gestures during a news conference in 1990, to say that the city of Boston needs to offer the black community more than an apology for what Bolling sees as a lack of attention and respect to black neighborhoods' needs and problems. (Jim Gerberich/AP)

Boston City Councilor Bruce Bolling, right, during a news conference in 1990. (Jim Gerberich/AP)

BOSTON — The most famous building in Roxbury’s Dudley Square is getting a new name.

The historic Ferdinand Building will be renamed after the late Boston City Council President Bruce Bolling, a trailblazing Boston politician.

In announcing the renaming, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh hailed Bolling as a leader in efforts to narrow economic and racial divides in the city.

Bolling spearheaded the linkage program requiring that downtown developers invest in affordable housing in city neighborhoods, and an ordinance setting required percentages for the number of women, minorities and Boston residents that must be hired on construction projects.

The first African American to serve as president of the city council, Bolling comes from a prominent Boston political family. His brother, former state Rep. Royal Bolling Jr., welcomes what he feels is a fitting tribute to his brother.

“He understood how economic development can really change not only a neighborhood but how people think of their neighborhood,” Royal Bolling Jr. said. “Ferdinand is a focal point of what was good, what was bad, and now what has been reborn into a new use, a new inspiration to a different generation.”

The Ferdinand Building — once the centerpiece of a bustling Dudley Square and later a symbol of urban blight, sitting vacant for decades — is slated to reopen this winter as a 150,000-square-foot municipal center with retail and office space.

“It’s going to be a major catalyst to the entire area,” Royal Bolling Jr. said. “I put it on the same level as the impact the Prudential Center had in the Back Bay, and now the Seaport District along the waterfront.”

The building, which will house the new headquarters for Boston Public Schools, is scheduled to open this winter.

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