The Trimount Foundation, New York City, which owns a Tiffany-designed mansion currently housing the Boston-based Bayridge Residence and Cultural Center, is looking to sell the mansion. The property usually boards 50 non-married female scholars who are studying at one of nine Boston-based higher learning institutes. This revenue stream dried up in 2020 after the coronavirus pandemic resulted in the loss of scholar housing fees, along with a suspension of tour revenue and events fees.
“Bayridge is more than a dorm, but it is basically a dorm at the end of the day,” said Trimount Foundation spokesperson and former Bayridge Executive Director Marie Oates. “The building has not been able to function as a residence since last year. This created the situation of exploring selling the building.”
In its “more than a dorm” role, Bayridge is a “corporate work” of Opus Dei, an institution of the Catholic Church which promotes spiritual service. Bayridge is open to members of all faiths who wanted to offer their services on behalf of good works, according to Oates.
The listing includes both the mansion, which was built for the Ayer family between 1899 and 1902, and an adjoining building, which are located at 395-399 Commonwealth. Together, the two buildings total around 25,000 square feet. Published reports put the asking price at $22.5 million, but an agent for realtor William Raveis Real Estate was not immediately available for comment and the listing was not on the William Raveis website.
In addition to housing scholars, the Ayer Mansion, which was declared a National Historic Landmark in 2005, offered monthly tours of the Tiffany-designed interior and furnishings, as well as a variety of cultural programming. Public tours were suspended with the start of the pandemic, but private tours are available with advance reservations.
The Mansion has been the recipient of an ongoing restoration campaign that began in 1998, and has received more than $3 million in both public and private funds for everything from an HVAC overhaul to restoration and general maintenance. The first $1.5 million was raised by a restoration team. Subsequent funds have been generated by the Campaign for the Ayer Mansion, a 501(c)(3) established in 2009.
If the mansion is sold, Bayridge will continue, Oates said. The building was purchased for Bayridge in 1964 by an organization that eventually became Trimount. “They are not going to stop serving in this capacity,” Oates said. “Proceeds from this sale will be funding the new Bayridge.”