Friday, April 17, 2009

Business update

I'm wondering about several commercial sites in East Boston:

***One comment on the previous post asks about 999 Saratoga Street, the former site of Zefferano's restaurant. The comment said that it looked like work was being done in at the site. Any readers have a scoop on this?

***I've noticed that the brick building at the corner of Saratoga and Curtis streets appears to be ready to open as a convenience store. Does anyone know the owners?

***Meanwhile a block away, at the corner of Saratoga and Harmony, the storefront there has been idle with brown paper in the windows following a sign posted a few months ago that the business was "coming soon." Is this another convenience store? Something else? Or did the owners decide to relocate to Curtis Street?

***The former Public Welfare Building in Maverick Square is supposed to open as a site for several small businesses. Does anyone know how that is coming along?

Any other new businesses that locals should know about?


Anonymous said...

Zefferano's=Dentist Office
Saratoga=Bonanza Market
Bennington=The Corner Market
Welfare Building=Construction to start soon.

-John Lynds

Alison said...

I feel like there are always little restaurants popping up around here, I can't keep up with them all!

Anonymous said...

Whats going to happen to the high rise factory across from 156 porter, hotel perhaps,, more condos.. A factory clothing outlet... Massport offices.. More resturaunts with views...anyone out there have any info on this building.. What about the land next door..

Murdock said...

Anon @ 10:33 - I believe that building was/is owned by Sterling and was/is going to be a culinary arts school. No news on that for some time though. I know the developers of Porter 156 (ELV) looked at that building for more condos several years ago, but the numbers didn’t make sense then, and certainly wouldn’t today. It’ll be a long time before there’s any meaningful new construction in Eastie.

Jim said...

Thanks to John Lynds for responding quickly with the relevant information.

So two new convenience stores -- Bonanza Market and The Corner Market -- are opening up a block from each other. Can both survive?

Anonymous said...

If all the convenience stores on Sumner street can survive im sure the two of them will be fine. Just what East Boston needs more convenience stores. I heard there was a competition between hair places, convenience stores, and taco joints. they are all neck and neck. I wonder if the East Boston Chamber can break it down for us. I would love to see actual numbers. Oh wait I wonder if any of them are members.

Anonymous said...

I would also like to add to John Lynds' comments by saying that both stores at Bennington and Saratoga St. are subject to approval from the Zoning Board of Appeals before they can open up. Bennington St. has started the ZBA process while Saratoga has yet to change occupancy from industrial to commercial. I am interested in seeing what the people of that neighborhood want.
John Forbes

Jim said...

Thank you, Johnny Forbes, for that info. It appears, from what I've seen driving by, that the store on Saratoga Street, Bonanza Market, already has food on the shelves.

Anonymous said...


Since when does it matter what the neighbors think? East Boston businesses in general look like *$(*. They are covered with pictures that obstruct the views inside, the outside are disgusting and litered with filth, the signage out of control. There are few in the Maverick/Central Sq area that appeal yo the why care now. The city needs to clean up the disaster that it has already created before focusing on new projects. In truth, these 2 businesses have some of the nicest facades so far in the area. Please Johnny, I think we all can agree on one thing. Clean up the horrendous storefronts and fine, fine, fine those business who won't abide. Then, come back to us, the residents and tax payers and ask for our opinion. Without a clean up and mandatory clean up of facades, signage, etc, the mayor will have a hard time getting the vote in eastie.

Anonymous said...

Hello Folkks
Just a bit of factual perspective.

1- We have the diriest looking business disdricts in all of Boston
1a-as well as the dirtiest streets.

2-You need Board of Appeals approval,B.R.A.approval,and I.S.D. approval before those horrrrrrendous awening signs,or any sign can go up over the City owned sidewalk.

3-99% of them do not have any of these permits,yet more,and more go up every "weekend".

4-Stores that look like the one connected to our Meridian Street Library(on the right side) should be shut down.
It is the filtiest I have ever seen,and thats just on the outside.Inside is a further disaster.

So whoever are giving this information,and I understand you work for the Mayor ,I have one question.

Why is it like this in Eastie but not in Southie,or Hyde Park?

Because as its been for years we get the sht end of the stick,from the Mayor.

Don't worry be happy ,he wont win Eastie,and he won't win period.

If hes smart,hell go out on top,and not with his tail between his legs.

Enough is Enough,there is no turning back on how ugly East Boston has become.

Although the heights people never thought it would migrate up there,so the pols just let it happen to Maverick,Day,and eSp Central Square.

Now its edging its way there,and people are freaking out,well welcome to the real world.

P.S.Sorry I have to ask ! How did Tequilas cause so much trouble,stabbings,guns,serving underage,serving after closing hours etc get 27 violations in a year,and never ever be given a single day of suspension?



Tommy B. said...

This community has no one to blame but themselves. We elect these pols who don't fight for the community, but these pols are backing the mayor for reelection. Can you name me one elected official or past elected official who has an ounce of independence in their bones and will go to bat for us to clean up our neighborhood?

Anonymous said...

The yellow canopys, banana posters,the goya posters, phone card posters, that are plastered in every front convinience store window from maverick sq to central sq to day sq to oheights are here to stay.these business owners have every right to advertise what they sell. If people want eastie storefronts to look like winchesters storefronts, the only way that will happen no.1 eastie would have to be like the n end every home or commercial property owner should raise their monthly rent fee, normally a 3 bedroom apartment in eastie is $1400 raise it to 2000 amonth it may appeal to those who want to live in a better neighborhood.

Murdock said...

Anon @ 9:33 – I don’t think most people are hoping that Eastie will become Winchester – just something more inline with Charlestown, the North End, or South Boston. I think this is a reasonable aspiration for our neighborhood. Store owners/operators do have the right to promote the goods they sell, but there are specific guidelines regarding window coverage/area and signage requirements. The real problem is that there has been a passive acceptance of the way things are, or that things will continue to be this way, by residents which has enabled local politicians, community groups, and the city to turn a blind eye to these issues. If we start making some noise, and reach out to our elected officials in force, I’ll bet we could get some of these rules and ordinances enforced. Eastie has been the wild wild west and the land zoning forgot for too long. We need collaboration and cooperation among East Boston Land Use, Main Streets, and our neighborhood associations – JPNA should take “ownership” of the Maverick Square issues, EHNA should take Central Square, and OHNA should take Day Square – and all demand similar levels of compliance from their neighborhood businesses. These organizations have been relatively effective within their small geographic areas, but they need to focus on the bigger picture and work together to make real changes.

JohnW said...

You want to get the N'Hood Associations *really* involved? Tie store signage to dog poop in some way and I guarantee you the full wrath of the N'Hood Associations will come down on those nasty storefronts like a ton of... well, poop.

Seriously though, I don't even notice the storefronts. Have you seen old turn of the century photos of Scollay Square and Quincy Market? Signage all over the place. And although the photos are in black and white, I'm sure the signs are not. I feel that the trash in the streets and obnoxious drivers are far greater problems for the streets of Eastie than storefront windows covered in tacky calling card ads.

Anonymous said...

As a member of more than onne community group,I can assure anyone reading this,its not our fault the stores,and residences look like sht!We do not have enforcement powers !Duh!

Also before I forget,the Anon assumes everyone in Eastie voted for the current politicians.. Well I have never voted for any of the current,or former Pols.

The blame sits in the elected officials hands,esp. the Mayor,Neighborhood Services,Inspectional Services,and of course the past 2 City Councilors,Paul Scapicchio,and Sal Lammattina.

Carlo,and Anthony are State.

They do not enforce the current Zoning Codes,** that by the way include signage laws).

What we have found is that they will destroy you if you go against them in public,or private about lets say :An offender thats related to them ,or one of their close friends.

Protect some of the nastiest places we have,like in Tequilas,aka the old Kahlua Hawain.

Help the same guy push his sht up to Maverick Square,a 7 day all alcoholic license.Hearing May 20th,2009

Why not fight him,like they fought Burger King going to Maverick??

Its leaving Orient Heights Square.So why not Maverick?

I get a really good laugh reading these comments from the Mayors office,its insane.

Easties problems are for real,and anyone with even an ounce of a brain knows,its been getting worse,not better.

Its sort of like the estimated 20 million illegal immigrants from every corner of the world.

They didn't come all at once.
There is no cure while we still are represented by these same people.

Just look,and listen to the Mayors political ads running. He says hes going to get the guns out of the hands of the criminals!
Oh Yea ,well gee wiz,why now? Why not every day hes been in office going back to the City Council,where by the way he got the Mayors job,by default,not an election.

Good Luck thinking "Upscale" chains,are going to invest in Eastie.
There is simply no way!!!

Their advance team would take one ride from end to end,and say this place looks like a third world country,were out of here.
Nevr getting out of the car.

Came here 10 years ago,and am disgusted at the continued down turn.
I am not sure who I will vote for from the challengers side,but I am 1000000000000000% sure I will not be voting for any of the current pols.

Marg L.


Melissa Tyler said...

An update on the Welfare building at the corner of Maverick and Bremen Street. John and I are working hard with the City to move our plans along to open 18 Entrepreneurial incubator spaces in the building. The plan is to have 9 shops on the first floor and 9 offices on the second floor. These spaces will be for rent at a reduced rate and will have many services including support provided by the Small Business Association. If you want to learn more please feel free to contact me at

Clark Moualsion said...

I share everyones frustration with the carnival atmosphere that surrounds the comercial districts in East Boston. Recently East Boston Main Streets and the Chamber have formed a task force. We have identified hundreds of violations with the sign code ( article 53 pages 46 and 47)To start we photographed all the really bad signs. We requested and have received help from the city's Inspectional Services Department. Last week we began by visiting individual businesses that received violations and some in between. The good news is that all the owners were willing to get their signage into compliance and our visits were generally positive. We are concentrating on cluttered windows and illegal signs. The bad news is there are hundreds.If anyone is interested in helping us Call John at the chamber or Clark at Main Streets. We need all the help we can get.

Clark Moulaison

Anonymous said...

Good job Clark,and John

Whats needed to speed things along as I told you guys when I gave you the signage regulations,is stiff daily fines after I.S.D gives them the notice.

Our business districts have been allowed to go to hell,and back unchecked by the City of Boston.

I put the blame on the Mayor on down.

This didn't happen over night,or un noticed,at least by community people who took pictures,called in complaints,only to see the effort get flushed.


500.00 A day seems reasonable.

Eastie Lifer,but now understanding why most of my friends have moved!

Mary Berninger said...

Here in Orient Heights, we have our fair share of poor signage and poorly maintained facades. The ones that come to mind instantly include, but are not limited to, Great Chef (hardly aesthetically pleasing,) Balloon City (the sign has had peeling paint for quite some time,) Woody's Liquors (I believe that their windows are covered beyond the acceptable percentage of covered glass that is allowed and the backlighted sign doesn't fit with Main Streets/City expectations,) the cigar shop's sign has been peeling and there has been a frayed banner hanging for far too long,)...just to mention a few. Also, I thought the community wanted to get away from the awnings that were pervasive for several years. Yet, Little Asia has a brand new awning and I'm still wondering how that happened. I want the task force to be proactive about every intended change to a business's facade and signage.

Other businesses in this area of the neighborhood should be commended for doing their best to have an attractive property. Examples are: Carmen's Kitchen, the old Bershad Brother's block (where Rite Aid is located,) Carmen Christopher's Salon, just to name a few.

I have long wanted Main Streets to be able to extend their mission and their view to Orient Heights. With more funding by the city and an expanded reach by Main Streets, we would really be in a position to approach businesses. I hope it all happens soon.


Mary Berninger

Anonymous said...

Dear Mary

What do you expect,when the politicians live up Orient Heights.

What you need to do is take a walk starting at Maverick Station,down Meridian Street ,do a full circle around Central Square(don't forget the disgusting look of our library compared to the heights),then go back down take a left at Sunny Nottos,and walk up Bennington until you hit Day Square.

What you will see is two different Easties.

One the Politicians care about,

and one they do not care about.

There is simply no way for you to compare.

Our section of Eastie is treated verrrrrrry diferently !

Living on a Prayer.

Mary Berninger said...

Hi, Deb. Hope all is well on Eagle Hill.

Actually, what I want is for the politicians to treat each and every part of East Boston the same. That is something we should all strive to impress upon them.

What I want is for ISD to do its job in all neighborhoods of this community. Trust me, there is litter and debris strewn about this end of Eastie, too. Like the residents of Eagle Hill who are involved in improving their quality of life, there are many of us in the Orient Heights area who won't hesitate to call upon the elected officials and City Hall departments to address a problem. The more calls made, hopefully, the more will get done.

What I want to see happen is for the absentee landlords, who own property in every section of East Boston, to maintain their properties so that they are clean, neat and not causing other owners to lose property value because of the absentee owners' neglect.

What I want is for a city government that always will be proactive, not reactive, in its attempts to clean our neighborhood. This abysmal trash situation can be turned around, but only if all the residents embrace the desire to make our neighborhood more attractive and only if our city government truly listens to what we want.

Owners and tenants have a shared responsibility to keep this neighborhood clean. Owners don't create all the trash, but owners are expected to keep their properties clean. Fair enough, but those same owners should be impressing upon their tenants the necessity for that cleanliness. If that doesn't work, well then expect a visit from Inspectional Services and a resulting fine.

Having walked each section of East Boston, not just Orient Heights, I have observed the number of units where there are so many names listed, there is barely room for the names to fit on the mailbox. Even closer to my home, along Saratoga Street, that same situation occurs. There does appear to be a correlation between that density reality and the amount of extra trash we see. Again, the city needs to address the overcrowding in apartments. Will the city? That's a question best answered by those who can fix the problem.

Mary Berninger

Anonymous said...

Hello again Mary

Right name ,wrong location !

Thats a great wish list ,but it is not the way it is.

I did not mean any disrespect ,but there is no doubt that certain sections of Eastie are not treated like Orient Heights,and most people would agree with me on that.

If that were the case the Politicians would spend some time in ,lets say Central Square park,day or night ,and have a family picnic.

It is what it is,and will never change.

I visited a friend on Bennington street near the Family dollar store about 2 months ago.

I was shocked to see 14 names on the 3rd floors mail box. So I took a picture,and sent in a complaint "Signed"with a number to call me".

To this day the names are still there,and no one called from ISD.

Peace Deb

Anonymous said...

I agree with deb, maverick sq to bennington st to day sq looks like havana cuba, and downtown lawrence,lowell, fall river, and springfield all combined,"the low rent look" heights looks cleaner and has very well kept sidewalks and streets, which include all the cement planters on the island in the middle of bennington st up the heights, give it some time, that area of orient heights will look like the rest of east boston.