Ink Block courtesy of BRA
Last week I wrote about another South End residential construction project that has been proposed and is currently being reviewed at 345 Harrison Avenue in my post, South End Residential Construction Boom.
This week I noticed a rather cool map Boston.com has created that pins current and proposed residential construction projects in the South End. If you are curious to see what has been proposed and learn more about these projects you should definitely bookmark, Boston Redevelopment Authority: Development Projects. However, the Boston.com site offers a cool view of projects (large and small) with before and after pictures that is worth checking out, Boston.com Interactive South End Residential Construction Map.
Graybar Electric Co. at 345 Harrison Avenue
Boston’s South End continues to boom with so many construction projects it makes my head spin. Perhaps Curbed Boston said it best late last month in their post, South End’s Constuctionpalooza Rocks on at 345 Harrison.
Nordblom rendering of proposed new residential complex for 345 Harrison Avenue
Just blocks from my home there are currently two large construction projects underway; the Ink Block will add approximately 500 condos / apartments and 275 Albany Street is being prepped to add another 400 condos / apartments. Last month developer Nordblom proposed replacing the Graybar Electric Co. building located across the street from the Ink Block with a new apartment complex that would include 13-story and 14-story buildings and add another 600 residential units.
Aerial view of proposed residential complex at 345 Harrison Avenue
Should Nordblom get approval to build, that would mean 1,500 new residential units may be added within just blocks of each other over the next few years, transforming what has been mostly vacant and under utilized space into a vibrant section of the South End with more residents, restaurants and retail space.
Shoppers who come out and brave the cold will receive a 15%-20% discount from participating South End retailers. The goal is to encourage shoppers to support local businesses.
This year’s holiday stroll includes more than 30 South End retailers and if you show your receipt from a participating shop you can receive $10 off dinner from participating restaurants.
Buy / Shop Local – Support South End Businesses 4-8 PM
For a complete list of participating South End retailers and restaurants link here.
So Eater Boston reported that The BiNA Family Hospitality’s latest newsletter (the owners of: jm Curley’s, Bogie’s Place, Bin 26 Enoteca and Lala Rokh) has recently added a logo for a new space called Merrill & Co. This leads one to believe that the South End rumor I reported earlier this month is more than just neighborhood gossip. According to the newsletter this new restaurant in a yet to be named location (cough, cough 1 Appleton Street) will open in the Spring of 2014.
Eater Boston Article: Rumor Mongering
BiNA Family Hospitality: Newsletter with new Merrill & Co. logo
Persistent rumors suggest that Sibling Rivalry’s plum location in the South End will soon be a Spanish tapas and wine bar.
Word on the street is the owners behind the popular Spanish tapas restaurant, Barcelona Brookline, will go into the space formerly occupied by Sibling Rivalry at 525 Tremont Street in the South End.
When I reached out to the ownership, I received neither a confirmation or denial, but a promise that more information would be shared soon. It is hard to say what may happen, but when I hear more, I’ll be sure to pass it along.
In late October I heard rumors that jm Curley in DTX was considering opening a new location in the space formerly occupied by 28 degrees in the South End. However, when I contacted Suzanne Dagenais – GM for jm Curley & Bogie’s Place – she responded that the ownership remained open to new ventures but there would not be “any more jm Curley’s in the South End or elsewhere.”
Fast forward to mid-November and word on the street is that the owners of jm Curley have inked a deal that will have them moving into the space formerly occupied by 28 degrees. If this turns out to be true it will be great to have them in the neighborhood. Not familiar with jm Curley’s? Check out their website, jmcurleyboston.com.
UPDATE – NOV 15: I was contacted again by Suzanne Dagenais. She confirmed the owners are looking at this space, but have not finalized negotiations (this runs counter to what I was told about the deal being inked).
According to Suzanne, should a deal go through, the space would be for a separate concept not yet determined. It is hard for me to believe that owners would agree to move into such an expensive space and not have a full business plan if only so they can get financing. What I’ve concluded from Suzanne’s email is it is unlikely jm Curley’s will open, but the owners are probably looking at a higher end option to make the space economically viable.
Could the soon to be departing jm Curly chef Sam Monsour be involved with the jm Curley’s owners in this new space? Time will tell I suppose. More about Chef Sam Monsour’s departure can be found in EaterBoston’s article.
Rumors of Fritz’s closing was first whispered to me early this summer, but I paid it little attention. It seemed strange that such a successful bar would close, but as the rumors persisted it became obvious that there was more truth than fiction and this wasn’t just neighborhood gossip.
Earlier this month Fritz confirmed on Facebook that they are closing at the end of this year. The owner of the Chandler Inn is remodeling the space to turn it into a restaurant and bar and make it more welcoming to the entire neighborhood (cue the bugle to play taps as yet another gay bar bites the dust).
Fritz is my favorite place in Boston to watch a game and even though I’m always a fan of seeing new restaurant open, I’m torn and left with a bitter taste by its closure. I’ll miss Fritz. What are your thoughts?
Blind Tiger made news earlier this month when food blogs around the city shared renderings of the space currently being remodeled and announced an early December opening. Conventional wisdom suggests if Boston Nightlife Ventures (BNV) is targeting an early December opening, one might realistically expect this to open in early 2014.
Blind Tiger is a self-described “craft cocktail speakeasy”. The design shows a lot of dark wood, leather, red accents, and chandeliers. The look has more in common with the long-standing tenant, Icarus, that closed in this space in 2009, than the previous restaurant, Noche, that BNV first opened here.
The images above of Noche Boston were a marked departure from the old Boston feel of the earlier tenant and one of the reasons I feel the bar scene was so vibrant initially. Perhaps the change back with this redesign will have the same effect, but I prefer the sleek look of Noche to the speakeasy vibe, that was trendy 5-10 years ago but now seems a bit overdone in Boston.
I’m curious to see how this redesign turns out and wish BNV much luck. What are your thoughts on the redesign?
The space formerly known as Francesca’s Cafe at 564 Tremont Street in the South End abruptly closed last month when the building’s new owner, Fredmund “Freddie” Kiley, is rumored to have pushed out the long time tenant. It is believed that Mr. Kiley would like to have a higher end cafe or restaurant in the space, but the existing space was deemed to be too small.
A South End resident told this blogger that the framed structure recently erected (see the above photo) is meant to expand the commercial space at 564 Tremont Street so it will be more attractive to a new tenant. Clearly Kiley has the midas touch when it comes to working the system here in Boston, because I’ve rarely seen anything approved so quickly in this neighborhood. Although Francesca’s may be missed, I’m more than a little curious to see what may come into this newly expanded space and when it might open.
Know anything about this project? Give me a shout.
Mark your calendar because next weekend is the South End Open Studios, September 21-22 from 11-6 PM.
The two-day free event showcases the works of more than 200 established and emerging artists creating art in a wide variety of media. This is a great event to check out if you’ve not visited before or if has been a while since visiting this event that is expected to attract huge crowds.
For more information, visit, useaboston.com.
On Friday I wrote about The Boston Globe article that reported an unused train track could potentially connect the Seaport District to the Back Bay.
What the report didn’t say but can be gleaned from The Boston Globe map (shown above) is where Track 61 resides. If this new MBTA line comes to life, it would be a boon for more than just the Back Bay and Seaport District.
The South End’s Ink Block deserves a stop along Track 61
Track 61 runs past the new Ink Block development in the South End. With several hundred new condos and apartments currently approved to be built in this part of the neighborhood, it is worth considering how having a MBTA stop might help better connect the neighborhood. It also seems feasible that a stop could be created near the always congested South Bay in Dorchester.
Note: Druker’s proposed building would be in parcel no. 1.
I love Boston, and I love my neighborhood, but the recent uproar to Ron Druker’s plan to build an 11-story office and retail building at 80 East Berkeley Street has left me scratching my head. The Boston Globe wrote, “Judged against its current surroundings, Ron Druker’s proposed building in Boston’s South End fits in about as well as a spaceship in a cornfield.” Really? I disagree.
While it is true that most of the South End is comprised of buildings ranging from 3-6 stories, a quick look at the image above shows a fairly blighted area filled with parking lots and shabby single story buildings with the exception of another 11-story building two blocks away. Interestingly, those other boxes in yellow signify new projects that have been given the green light and range in height from 5 to 20 stories tall so in a matter of 2-3 years, much of this section of the South End will be filled with buildings of varying size and design. I like the idea that the neighborhood will have this variety but do it without jeopardizing the many blocks of Bow Front Victorians that dominate most of the South End.
This location could not be more appealing to businesses if the city tried, sandwiched between the intersection of two major highways and near mass transit. My hope is that these early plans from Druker and others will help build a case for covering / spanning I-90 before long, bringing life to what is currently rundown warehouses, parking lots and underutilized space.
Francesca’s Cafe is closing, after serving the South End for nearly 20 years from their cozy home on the corner of Union Park and Tremont Street. Earlier this afternoon I spoke to the staff and they confirmed Francesca’s closing. There is no word if the owner plans to reopen in another location.
In March I reported rumors about a pending close in my post Francesca’s Cafe South End. I speculated Francesca’s days may be numbered after South End resident, Fredmond Kiley IV, quietly purchased the building in what was rumored to be a cash deal.
Time will tell if this is the final chapter for Francesca’s or if the owners will look for another space to reopen. I’d love to suggest they look at the 7-Eleven space that will be closing at 1306 Washington Street in SoWa later this year. Time will also tell what the landlord will do with this prime real estate – rumor has it he’d like a high end restaurant or cafe.
After hosting friends and family night earlier this week, Five Horses Tavern on Columbus Avenue will have their grand opening tonight. as tonight). If you live in the area, walk over this weekend to check out the newest restaurant to open in the neighborhood.
Five Horses Tavern is located at 535 Columbus Avenue in the South End. Eater Boston earlier this week published a write up about Five Horses Tavern here.
Not all gossip is good and in the case of Yakitori Zai – the Japanese barbecue restaurant that opened in June – the rumors that I’ve heard are definitely not good. The remodeling signs that are in the windows of this newly renovated restaurant are due to the brand new ventilation system that the owner installed. I don’t know all the details but rumor has it the issue is that Yakitori Zai’s new ventilation flumes are visible from the street. I hope there is more to the story, because the South End certainly has far more significant blights; one need only look left from Yakitori Zai to see the abandoned and crumbling Sahara Restaurant – talk about a blight to the neighborhood.
Fortunately, I have more exciting, albeit more ambiguous gossip to share about the eagerly awaited Five Horses Tavern. My curiosity got the best of me and I walked over to the restaurant the other day. I was able to meet one of the owners – Sarah Hanson – who walked me through the property.
I promised Sarah I wouldn’t say anything about the work they did, but for those familiar with the Columbus Cafe space – be prepared to be pleasantly surprised. This team has done a remarkable job and the space is both much better designed and beautiful. The neighborhood should be very excited to have this property – I know I’ll be checking them out when they open shortly.