EGLESTON SQ.—Following public protests, a city council hearing and involvement from various neighborhood advocacy groups and elected officials, six businesses in Egleston Square are finalizing negotiations with new landlord City Realty to remain in their longtime locations.
City Realty bought two foreclosed buildings at 3106-3108 and 3152-3160 Washington St. in April. Those two buildings housed seven businesses, some for over 30 years. The affected businesses include Pin Bochinche Restaurant; Nelly’s Flower and Fragrance; Tony’s Travel; Anibal Color Studio; Buena Vista; and Cellular Nutrition. Yamel Beauty Salon, formerly at 3156 Washington St., has already closed.
According to an email sent by the JPNDC in September, City Realty engaged in lease negotiations with the business tenants while simultaneously initiating eviction processes. Those rent negotiations would cause rent and occupancy cost increases—mostly in the form of property taxes—totaling as much as 65 percent for the business tenants, the JPNDC claims.
On Oct. 17, the business owners; Egleston Square Main Streets; two of the partners of City Realty Group and their attorney; representatives from the City’s Department of Neighborhood Development, Office of Business Development, and Office of Neighborhood Services; representatives from the office of the City Councilor Matt O’ Malley; and JPNDC Business Development Director Alison Moronta, met to talk terms.
“This time, City Realty Group partners came back to the negotiation table with a more flexible approach and with a better understanding of each business situation,” Moronta told the Gazette last week. “We are hopeful to finish the leases in the coming week…We expect that with this positive meeting, these businesses will continue in operation in Egleston Square.”
City Realty co-owner Fred Starikov told the Gazette that the landlord had just signed the first lease with its Egleston Square tenant on Oct. 29. City Realty chose to not ask its tenants to pay for property taxes.
“Now it’s just a matter of signing leases and collecting rent,” he told the Gazette, noting that he expected all six leases to be signed within a week. “We’d like to get the building stabilized.”
At the ribbon-cutting for the new Curley School playing field last week, Mayor Martin Walsh told the Gazette, “We’re working on it.”
The Mayor and his team said that there were ongoing negotiations between the businesses and City Realty, and that there would be “good news…shortly.”
City Councilor Matt O’Malley told the Gazette that the “group effort” involved his office, as well as state Rep. Liz Malia’s office and the City “urging” City Realty to meet with the businesses.
Following the latest sit down on Oct. 17, O’Malley said there was an agreement that “all parties felt pretty good” about.
“These are businesses that helped Egleston Square really stay afloat and stay vibrant” during rougher years, O’Malley said.
CLARIFICATION: This article has been edited to clarify attendance at the Oct. 17 meeting.