Eight Streets Neighborhood Association

December 7, .2005

 

Minutes

 

 

Introductions/Announcements:

 

 

 

 

D4 Crime update: Eight Streets resident Alan Helms attended the D4 meeting. Crime is up. Sergeant in charge of the meeting said the force is down 200 officers. Mayor says that there is no money for new police force. City is planning on putting in new pedestrian sidewalks (embedded in the street and raised) which provide the advantage of making it easier for automobiles to see. Residential burglary is up.  

 

Another Waltham Street resident mentioned that there has been a lot of burglaries on Waltham street including one stolen car, a car broken into and a residential burglary with significant loss.

 

Project Place – Susan Kenney, representative from Project Place attended the meeting to discuss the new Project Place headquarters to be built at the corner of E Berkeley and Washington. The goal of Project Place is to help homeless live independently. Their current location at 32 Rutland Street is small so they are building a new headquarters. The purpose of Project Place is to provide people who want to help themselves improve and support themselves. It provides training and education for women of domestic violence, addicts, and the homeless.  Project Place is a welcoming place that means business…not for people to sleep but a place for people to learn how to get a job and make a new life for themselves.  Project place has set up several businesses for the people who go to Project Place for them to learn new skills. They currently work in 15 neighborhoods to clean up the streets (hired by neighborhoods, businesses, etc.). They also run 2 other businesses: PepsiCola (vendor) distribution and Homeplate (an award winning chili stand in downtown crossing but they also do catering). These businesses create job opportunities for people. Project Place also provides adult education services such as courses on anger mgmt, early intervention and budget mgmt.

 

For the space at the corner of East Berkeley and Washington, Project Place competed with private developers and they won the right to develop the land for the new Project Place Headquarters. It will have 2 floors of affordable housing as well as some rentals (kitchenette, bathroom) for graduates of the program. There will also be counseling rooms, a commercial kitchen, project mgmt areas, and a computer lab. During the day there is a large dining room for Project place and during the evening, the space can be used as a meeting room for the neighborhood. There is an active push to have retail on the first level. Diane Chang (from Flour) is planning to open a restaurant with Chinese food. The space is approximately 25,000 square feet. They hope to start construction this month.

 

Occupancy/development is probably about 1 year (Dec 06) . They’ve spent 1.5 years on finances and are in the process of selling their Rutland Street building. The path to Shawmut Ave next to the building will remain and they will be adding some lights to the path. (Old Dover Neighborhood Assoc put together requirements for the space.) The first four floors will have opaque windows. The stairwell be lit so that it will look like a
“beacon” at the corner of Washington and East Berkeley. The “beacon” being a symbol of hope and life. . When people come off the expressway, they will see the beacon/see light and know there is life on that corner. The staircase near the park will be an emergency staircase. 

 

For more information and/or to get more involved in Project Place go to: www.Projectplace.org .  .

 

 

Close to the new Project Place building there are plans for a Public art place.  The exact location is still to be determined but it is planned to be very close to this intersection of Washington and East Berkeley. That particular area has a historical significance as it was the narrowest part of neck to the Shawmut peninsula where people would step off and enter Boston.  The Washington Mainstreet Gateway has been working on the art project. It will be a freestanding and there is a committee to make sure that the design does not block out parts of the building. There have been several entries for the art and the goal is to make sure that it has historical significance. (some of the options were and archway or waves)

 

BCA Restaurant “The Beehive” –Jack Barty (Pho Republique) and Daryl Settles (Bob the Chef) presented their new restaurant concept for the Leland Center space (old Black Box theatre) at the BCA located at 542 Tremont Street. The project is several years in the making and has evolved over the past 20 months. The concept is to have a bohemian, art-themed neighborhood bistro with moderately priced food. They are expanding the space from street level, down to the basement as well as expanding the basement space through to the Mills Building next door. Overall size of the space is approximately 5000 Sqare feet.  There are plans to have a small stage area downstairs for live music (mostly jazz trios and quartets).  The upstairs space has an opening so that music can filter up to the top level and so that you can see the band from upstairs. It will seat approximately 200 people. There is Patio space in front of the BCA (40 people). There is also a back alley where they could put a patios space that they can potentially use for outdoor seating out back. They have a license hearing and are requesting permission for seating in the back alley.

 

Because the space spans two buildings, they are breaking through the wall for the 2 buildings and looking to get the proper variances to do so. Fire code issues need to be considered and will determine the size of the openings through to the other space.

 

For entertainment, the idea is to have it complement the evening background not to be loud music that can be heard blaring from the street. Because the band will be set up downstairs this should minimize noise out to the street. They plan on having valet parking on Tremont Street (7 spaces from BCA are assigned to the Beehive).

 

During the meeting, the neighborhood expressed many concerns about Valet parking. Valets are double parking and causing traffic problems. More traffic on Waltham Street is a big concern as it has already become a raceway for people to get to the expressway and for valets from the other restaurants in the neighborhood. Eight Streets is actively making restaurants in the neighborhood be responsible for their valet. The Beehive will likely be using the Cathedral/Waltham Street lot to valet its cars.

 

The anticipated opening will be late spring/early summer. There is a hearing for license transfer (liquor license) on Dec 14 (2AM license).  Patio will plan on closing at 11PM per landlord.  The restaurant is Open until 2AM. They purchased the existing 2 AM license and plan on serving food until 1:30. They are mostly surrounded by commercial space so not many concerns about noise affecting residents.

 

They are asking for our support on the overall concept of the restaurant and to support the liquor license. They have applied for a variance to combine the two buildings.  They have met with Union Park Neighborhood Association and with the Union Park Neighborhood Association and they have supported them.

 

Eight Streets Neighborhood Association Vote:  Because of the amount of people that can be accommodated in the restaurant, there were many concerns about traffic and more cars on Waltham Street. Concerned that it will be harder to find parking and concerns about the valet double parking cars, taking residential spaces and speeding down Waltham street.

 

Motion to support the concept and their liquor license.  If valet parking is a problem they agree to be responsible to correct it.  5 approve, 1 opposed.

 

Closing Remarks:

ESNA President John McLachlan is working with Ellis and UPNA President’s to send a letter to all restaurants with valet asking them to be responsible for their valets. BTD knows it’s a problem.