Centre St. repair shop eyed for redevelopment

An auto repair shop at 626 Centre St. is targeted for redevelopment, though its owner is backing away from a plan to turn it into a liquor store.

Christ Stamatos, the property’s owner, told the Gazette he is still considering possibilities. Meanwhile, employees at El Rubio’s Auto Repair Shop said they hadn’t heard of any potential new changes happening to the property until the Gazette asked them about it on Sept. 25.

The liquor store proposal, which involved demolishing the current building, was brought before the Jamaica Pond Association (JPA) on Sept. 9. The plan was opposed due to lack of information.

Boston residents Leo and Arnaldo Baez proposed that the store would be named Cork, the manager would be Arnaldo Baez, and the store would have hours of 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., but reportedly had little other plans to add to the discussion.

“We voted to oppose the proposal since the plans were premature,” said JPA chair Jack Fay. “We didn’t even get into a discussion of signage, parking and public need since they were planning on developing a new building entirely.”

The topic was withdrawn from the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council’s Public Service Committee agenda that was scheduled the following day.

Stamatos told the Gazette that he no longer plans on developing the liquor store, but is still considering other options for the site. Stamatos owns several local commercial properties and runs Pondside Realty at 619 Centre St., diagonally across the street from El Rubio’s.

The 626 Centre site was previously occupied by Mike’s Service Center, which was shut down in 2010 for operating without permits and for having abandoned cars, a leaking oil tank and “illegal” propane heaters, as the Gazette reported at the time.

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