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.
The self-described “Asian-inspired gastropub” from the team behind The Gallows and Blackbird Doughnuts are saying they will open in July in the South End. This restaurant will open in the space previously occupied by Hamersley’s Bistro on the corner of Tremont and Clarendon Street.
Eater Boston dishes with Owner, Rebecca Roth Gullo, and COO, Seth Yaffe, sharing more about the restaurant’s layout, menu and their executive chef, Phillip Tang, formerly chef/owner of East by Northeast in Cambridge. More about that interview on EaterBoston here.
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.
The 2015 SoWa Open Market returns to the South End on Sunday, May 3rd. The market is open every Sunday from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. through October 25, 2015 and spans three blocks along Harrison Avenue in Boston’s South End.
Every Sunday 15 to 20 Food Trucks will be located at 540 Harrison Avenue serving a variety of food. Just up the street at 500 Harrison Avenue is the Farmers Market which includes an ever larger assortment of locally grown produce, flowers, plants, and gourmet specialty foods. Lastly, be sure to check out the Arts Market located at the end of Thayer Street. It is a great place to peruse some of the region’s best artists and designers.