Midway expansion approved

May 19, 2008
By

DAVID TABER

WASHINGTON ST.—After at least half-a-dozen hearings before the city Zoning Board of Appeal since the mid-1990’s David and Jay Balerna finally got the go-ahead on May 8 to expand their bar at 3496 Washington St.

“It went perfectly. We got approved. Jay and I were in tears in the hallway,” David Balerna, who, with his brother, co-owns the Midway Café, said in a Gazette interview.

The Balernas owns the row of storefronts at 3492-3498 Washington St. and plan to expand into space currently occupied by McCormack and Scanlan Real Estate on the corner of Washington and Williams streets.

They hope to relocate McCormack and Scanlan within the building, Balerna said.

The Balernas’ had a contentious relationship with their neighbors in the 1990s, and their plans to expand were rejected multiple times.

By 2005, though, they had turned their act around.

Stonybrook Neighborhood Association coordinator Maureen Monks recently told the Gazette that problems with the Midway were what originally inspired the formation of the SNA. But by 2005 she said, it has “done a 180-degree turnaround into being a good neighbor.”

That was the last time the Balernas went before the ZBA. The only opposition to their plan at the 2005 hearing came from the Mayor’s Office.

As the Gazette reported last month, the Balernas’ sued the city after the 2005 hearing. Colleen Keller from the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services said the city was barred from taking a position on the Balernas’ latest bid as a condition of a settlement reached in that case.

Talking to the Gazette last week, David Balerna declined to discuss the lawsuit. “This is probably not the time to do it. I’m feeling pretty flowery. Let’s let the past be the past. As I said to the board, you are looking at two guys looking to move forward with their lives.”

The Midway will employ local contractors to complete the expansion, he said. They hope to have the work completed by the date of their 17th anniversary on Aug.1.