Roslindale Neighbors: Housing, retail coming soon in substation project

Thirteen years in the making, the Roslindale Substation project is well on its way to opening doors on time. The residential stage of the project is due to be ready by October, and a restaurant and a craft beer store are on the way.

A “meet and greet” tour of the project area is planned for May 20, 3 to 4 p.m.

The project is twofold: the rehabilitation of the substation building at 4228 Washington St. into 7,500 square feet of restaurant and retail space, and the construction of a 43-unit apartment building on an adjacent lot, formerly occupied by the Higgins Funeral Home.

Roslindale Village Main Streets (RVMS) is working with Historic Boston, Inc. (HBI) and Peregrine Group to restore the exterior and replace the currently bricked-up windows.

Construction on the residential units began last summer. The 43-unit building is “about 50 percent complete,” developer Jordan Stone told the Gazette last week. Stone is a founding principal at Peregrin Group.

According to Stone, of the 43 units, 12 will be studios, 19 will be one-bedrooms and 22 will be two-bedrooms. One studio, three one-bedrooms and two two-bedrooms will be affordably priced.

“And they’re mixed throughout the building, like they’re supposed to be,” Stone said.

“Working with Roslindale Village Main Streets and Historic Boston Inc. has been a real joy. Their enthusiasm for Roslindale as a place and their constant focus on making it better and being part of that is a lot of fun,” he said.

RVMS will also be relocating its offices to the ground floor of that building, he added.

Meanwhile, the renovation of the substation building is due to begin by the end of this month, Stone said.

The 3,500-square-foot, ground-floor retail space has been rented to restaurateur Chris Douglass, owner of Ashmont Grill and Tavolo Restaurant. The lower level has been leased to Bryan Reeves, owner of Craft Beer Cellar and a Rozzie resident.

Craft Beer Cellar will provide an assortment of craft beer, cider, mead, sake rice wine and wine for retail sale, Reeves said.

“Our focus is on awesome beer with flavor; not those beers which ingredients are intended to lighten color or lessen quality,” Reeves said. “We trained knowledgeable ‘beer geeks’ who specialize in all aspects of beer styles, service and food pairing.”

“As a current Roslindale resident and owner of this CBC location, as well as an eight-year resident of West Roxbury, I am fully invested in the overall success and vitality of the store and Roslindale Village Main Streets, and I plan to remain for a very long time,” he added.

Those will be the only tenants, Stone said.

Stone explained that while the building looks large, the internal space only adds up to about 8,000 square feet, which has been roughly split in half for each of the tenants.

“It’s very tall, it has big volume, but there’s not a lot of floor area,” he explained.

That half of the project is expected to completed by the first quarter of 2016, Stone said.

RVMS executive Director Christina DiLisio told the Gazette this week that she is “very excited” about the iconic building being a usable space for the community.

“It means so much to the community,” she said.

The substation was originally built to house transformers to turn AC power into DC for streetcars and has been vacant since 1971. In recent years, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

Various rehab efforts over the decades stalled until the current project gained momentum.

The new residential building at 4228 Washington St. (Gazette Photo by Peter Shanley)

The new residential building at 4228 Washington St. (Gazette Photo by Peter Shanley)

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