An exciting urban intervention program is set to take place under the I-93 highway overpass near Traveler and West 4th Street to help turn this underutilized 2.5 square mile area dividing the South End and Southie into an outdoor Urban Innovation Gallery. The Design Museum Foundation has a 7 minute video describing the intent behind this program, which you can view here.
If you are interested in learning more about this program there are three ways you can get involved.
Volunteer and help transform the Neighborhood Border Zone into an Urban Innovation Gallery by helping with events, design, installation, and more — Volunteer Form
Sponsor this project to help make it a success — Sponsorship Form
Form an Urban Innovation Festival team to take part in a 3-day Urban Innovation Festival next summer, start thinking about your team and stay tuned for a Call for Teams, coming soon.
Last June the Archdiocese of Boston put the Holy Trinity Church up for sale. The ne0-gothic church and rectory first opened in 1877 but has been vacant since it closed in 2011. Last week the Boston Redevelopment Authority approved plans to transform the church and rectory into 33 new housing units. The $47 million project will involve demolition of the existing interior space to accommodate a new 8-story building that will also include 28 basement parking spots.
The new design attempts to marry modern steel and glass elements while preserving the historic character of the existing structure and exterior masonry. Lighting features will enhance the church’s spire and highlight the classic architecture of the building.
While many in the South End have been fixated on the development at the Ink Block and Troy Boston along Traveler and Albany Streets, just a few blocks down the road are two large properties that will be developed in the coming years.
Last month The Boston Flower Exchange shareholders approved the sale of their 5.6 acre property (shown above) after receiving a $35 million dollar offer. Their vote has cleared the way for another large development in the neighborhood. Couple that with the news that last fall Boston Medical Center sold three buildings to Leggat McCall Properties along Harrison Avenue and East Canton Street and this section of the South End looks like it will be transformed; potentially bringing thousands of new residents to the neighborhood.
Leggat McCall Properties met with the Worcester Square Area Neighborhood Association in May to discuss their plans for future development of this area. Stay tuned; more information is expected to be forthcoming.
Merrill & Co. was an eagerly anticipated (and hyped) South End restaurant that opened in March 2014 with quite a splash. For about three months it was the “IT” place to dine, but after an initial honeymoon it didn’t have the staying power and earlier this month several food blogs published what everyone in the neighborhood already knew — nobody eats at Merrill & Co. All one had to do was walk by on a weekend evening and you could see the place half empty.
Merrill & Co. will close Friday, June 19th
In an interesting twist the owners are creating a competition to find the right person to take over the space. While I don’t pretend to know how to run a successful restaurant or even what the rent there might cost here are some thoughts on what I think one needs to do to succeed in that space.
- The neighborhood doesn’t need anymore small plates restaurants.
- Unless you are going consistently crank out amazing food (and not just claim to) bring your average entrée price down to $18-$22.
- Do great comfort food or something ethnic the neighborhood doesn’t have to stand out. Some suggestions include: Greek, Moroccan, or a Japanese Noodle Bar — I’m thinking Ramen and Karaoke Bar.
- Create great bar scene at your restaurant where people can pick from a number of easy to eat options bar side.
- Do something with that beautiful patio while the weather is warm.
Late last year Franklin Southie closed and now rumors are swirling that the days of the South End location may be numbered. This listing for 276 Shawmut which includes 6,000 square feet of residential and restaurant space is currently for sale.
David DuBois emailed me yesterday after I inquired about the potential sale and he said, “The landlord has listed the building on MLS. He is wanting to retire and selling all his property. It does not involve the Franklin“.
Considering the success of DuBois chain of Tasty Burger restaurants (its 5th location opens tomorrow at the Back Bay T station) I’m not quite sure what to make of his response – even though I want to believe him. Restaurant owners rarely level with me about their future plans. The Franklin Cafe is a longtime neighborhood favorite, but this neighborhood has changed and maybe the lure of growing a nascent burger chain is of more interest. Time will tell. Anyone with details can contact me at email@example.com.
The European coffee house chain, Caffe Nero, which is moving into the space formerly occupied by Francesca’s, has in recent weeks shown signs of activity. New windows that will open to Tremont Street remain papered, hiding their progress, but the front doors indicate they will be opening soon and are even looking for help, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Boston Restaurant Talk blog wrote that Jae’s Cafe on Columbus Avenue in the South End may cease to exist and be replaced by a new restaurant called Shun’s Kitchen. I have a lot of happy memories at this restaurant but haven’t been there in quite a while. I thought I’d share the news with my readers who may also have similar happy memories of this restaurant.
…According to a licensing board page within the City of Boston website, Jae’s Cafe in the South End of Boston is seeking to transfer its stock and have new officers, directors, and shareholders for the space, with the Columbus Avenue restaurant being replaced by a new spot called Shun’s Kitchen. If the request is approved, this will be the final location of Jae’s to shut down….Jae’s Cafe, which first opened in the South End approximately 25 years ago, has been known as a spot to get a variety of Korean, Japanese, and Thai dishes, along with other Asian fare.
The address for Jae’s in the South End (and the proposed Shun’s Kitchen) is 520 Columbus Avenue, Boston, MA, 02118.
You may read the full blog post on Boston Restaurant Talk here.