Business

A retail resurrection in Dudley Square

The effort to rehabilitate the Ferdinand building in Dudley Square has brought signs of a renewal and a starting point.
The effort to rehabilitate the Ferdinand building in Dudley Square has brought signs of a renewal and a starting point. Essdras M. Suarez/Globe Staff

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After years of fits and starts, the square at Boston’s geographic center is attracting renewed interest from businesses and developers who want to restore its reputation as a commercial hub. They are proposing to build new offices, hotels, restaurants and retail boutiques. A new supermarket is also being planned, along with hundreds of residences.

The Ferdinand Building, a prominent Baroque revival structure built in the 1880s, is a jumping off point for the unfolding transformation. When its restoration is completed next year, it will become the new home of Boston Public Schools, and six new retail spaces will open in its ground floor.

A Thursday open house for retailers vying to fill those spots brought out a wide range of businesses, including a representative from Starbucks, franchisees for Dunkin’ Donuts and Burger King, and local retailers such as the asian restaurant Bon Me and a fashion boutique called Touch of Class.

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