Pro-gentrification forces score victory in South End: Dunkin' Donuts withdraws plans for Tremont Street outlet

Hidden Boston tweets the irresistible force known as Dunkin' Donuts has folded up in the face of the immovable object known as South Enders opposed to coffee fiends.

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don't know if you noticed

Maybe not from your employed status, but people need jobs period. Jobs don't just metastasize out of thin air.

Construction jobs would go to renovation, then full time and part time wage jobs would move in where there weren't any before. Something, is better than nothing in this economy, right? then that money is spent locally and hopefully better jobs come from the economic improvement.

Sadly, I've noticed retail / restaurant jobs are less frequently staffed by students and young people as they have historically, and more and more by full time older workers working it as a first job in multiple employment.

And it's not like there's some battle over who gets to open something there.

Waiting for something "better" might not be the best plan, unless you're the one planning something better for the location (and putting your money where you mouth is).

Perhaps you do not understand

Perhaps you do not understand that many people cannot afford to take a minimum wage, part-time position that will bring in less money than that unemployment check from the last job that laid them off, which barely covers rent, food and COBRA. It's a vicious cycle. Perhaps you are not acquainted with anyone caught in that predicament?

who was arguing that?

and further, whats your proposal for the space?

You can supplement unemployment with part time work. Although I'm not sure how that relates to this discussion. Dunks wanted to move in. No one else is vying for that spot. Independent shops and eateries have been closing up around town.

Are you arguing nothing is better than something, and is going to lead to those better imaginary jobs? As far as I know no doctors, accountants, or biotech firms have shown interest in this space. (not that they'd be allowed by zoning).

I know Dunks isn't anything special long term, but at a time like this is pretty stupid to be promoting phantom jobs where there are none. I don't see a Fire and Ice opening anytime soon.

Are you arguing nothing is

Are you arguing nothing is better than something,

Obvious, the answer was yes. Such is the quality of thinking on this topic. Inner city young people have a much higher unemployment rate than the rest of the nation, but what's important is.... bitching.

NIMBYs

Yeah, 'coz if it weren't for those pesky NIMBYs, the progressive, forward-thinking forces of development would have been able to do with the rest of the city what they did with the West End, and Boston would now be at least as charming as Dallas.

Same old argument

And back then, there were plenty of people taking the other side: that "slum clearance", as they termed it, would create jobs, improve the quality of housing, attract middle class people back into the city, and generally be a good thing. And those who opposed it were unrealistic, elitist, obstructionist, etc.

And yet, it's still a non-sequitor

We are talking about a single store front, here, either getting or not getting a specific business. That isn't remotely comparable to a discussion of bulldozing entire neighborhoods. Yes, some people legitimately thought urban renewal was a good idea. I think most would agree today that it was a mistake. But if a donut shop comes to this location, and it's a mistake, said donut shop will close.

There is no long term harm to the community when the scale is this minimal. They aren't even demolishing one building. So please, stay focused, and stop bringing up unrelated mistakes from the past. And just in case you aren't sure, the Southwest expressway is also not remotely relevant to this discussion.

Argh!

Okay, this is like the fifth time this WEEK that I've seen non sequitur misspelled in the same way you did it. What the hell is going on here?

Look at their argument

An tell me it's of sane people that will do good for this city:

Dear Neighbors,
Thank you for your support. Because we worked together, the national fast food franchisee interested in a mega restaurant at the corner of Tremont and West Brookline St. has withdrawn his application for a zoning variance.

Fast food and mega restaurant are not descriptions that come to mind when talking about Dunks. It does franchise out, but it's also headquartered in MA. Then there's the issue of hubris of the neighborhood saying what can and can't open in their area, ala whosfoods.

They're all very concerned, but not enough to put up money and open a business. A storefront will remain empty for quite some time, and both construction and lower paying jobs won't be around.

I didn't even mention the part of their argument that includes "think of the children" and tries to connect coffee sales to a potential increase of drugs in a local park. Coffee fiends indeed.

Is zoned

It's zoned for "take out restaurant" but at < 2500 sq feet. +2500 is allowed, but needs a variance it appears.

The issue and why the variance is needed, is because the space they're looking at must be slightly larger. So the NIMBYS can stop their feet and put up a storm. Somehow i doubt someone is looking to put in a 3000-4000 sqf dunks there.

Honestly, permitting it isn't going to be the end of the world.

Dunks, in these situations, typically puts in a starbuck's like lounging area & WiFi to appease those looking for something a little more community oriented and tends to make the interiors much nicer than their strip mall drive through locations.

And ultimately my point is, per the zoning, a variance is going to be needed to permit anything going in there unless it's split up into smaller units. (which will be petitioned by this group most likely). The "dangerous precedent" seems to be that this small NIMBY group might not get to be the only gatekeepers.

Is it?

According to the article in Boston.com, it is "currently zoned for retail but not food service", though that is my only source. I could really care less about what goes in there myself, but I think that the neighbors have some legitimate interest as to what does, if it it is not a use conforming for which it is zoned. If the article is wrong and it has been zoned for restaurant use all along, then the time for the neighbors to have had made an argument would have been when the zoning was under consideration, not now.

Yup

Zoned for "local retail" and takeout food <2500 sqft as MFR/LS. It's not zoned for "retail".

The zoning is very specific, not all "retail" would comply. Dunks would have been fine if the store was 2499, they had to apply for a variance because it was >=2500.

Basically, it's a mess and a variance is most likely needed for most anything to go in. That's by design. A non-take out local restaurant is even conditional in that space.

Check it out:

http://www.bostonredevelopmentauthority.org/pdf/Zo...

Funny enough, a methadone clinic could go there.

MEGA RESTAURANT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It would be interesting to compare the neighbors' reactions if this were a Starbucks or an American Apparel as opposed to a Dunkies. I suspect that the neighborhood would have room for both.

This is the type of story that makes me think Boston is a city in spite of itself. More often than not change=bad--no matter what the change is. What's wrong with a Dunkin Donuts? Boston, I love you, but I don't miss the NIMBY-ism thinly veiled as quality-of-life issues.

No one complain's about the

No one complain's about the meter maids jumpin in on a Starbucks
Parton - like no other stores double parking nightmare's- have you been on Tremont street on a Friday or Saturday night??sad that the locals that stop at Starbucks are made out to be so bad- yet the onslaught we have to go thru on weekends is okay because they patron high end restaurants

Nobody's equating the dunks to the West End

Nobody's equating a DD to the razing of the West End.

The only point was that the developers and their shills love to complain about NIMBYs ruining the city, whereas in fact it was a previous generation's NIMBYs the protected what we've got: a city with a viable residential core. Very few American cities were able to save that.

Funny

You are from Southie ??? And you say the NIMBYs are going to kill this City???? Southie is full of NIMBYs who love to block progression and job creating developements, grocery stores, highend retail , etc...all because of "parking" or because they "aint from here".... And before you start I am from Southie too.

You are a contradiction of yourself...

And

The problem is?

The real world doesn't fall into nice black and white lines. Neither do I.

I apposed the ridiculous Nimby-ism against a doggy daycare bout a year back. Jerks literally forced out a business trying to open in the commercial zoned area off W. 1st and E.

Smart regulation can exists while cutting away the useless red tape and excesses. & neighborhood battles like above happen all the time, in Blue Boston and Deep Red Florida. Boston is not very businessmen friendly and I'm for efforts to change that. Smacking down the ridiculous power neighborhood groups can impose on small business is a start. Including in South Boston.

Take a look at the complexity of those zoning doc. I'm all for zoning, but it needs to be simplified vastly. Right now it emboldens these groups who want to pick and choose who can open what.

Fenway Bark

Forced out what buisness? I was at every meeting for that and did research etc...it was an abandond empty former printing buisness. It had been empty for 10 years I believe?? It was East 1st and Kst ...

You are a hypocrite....You are so outspoken about other peoples' neighborhoods yet no buddy better but into Southie buisness. You are too funny

Typical

So funny when you are wrong you just love to say "troll" hhaha...
Next time know your facts before you talk about OUR neighborhood

Sally

Sally ,

I stand corrected and I apologize to anon-sq...

Thank you for making me see correctly which I read and re-read several times WAY too fast..sorry

No kidding!

I have a hard time squeezing out any crocodile tears for the pink and orange behemoth. Ugh. Bland, watery coffee and such crappy doughnuts (and yes, I do remember when they were crispy and yummy and didn't taste like they came out of a cellophane Hostess bag.) I do not understand the cult of DD's and God knows, there IS one every three blocks. Even here in JP, we have three on Centre Street and many people asked the WhoseFood crowd why they didn't seem to mind those but could be driven to a frothing rant by a mention of a Starbucks.

I'm no fan of Dunks

At least not from a personal point of view. I don't like the donuts, and the coffee will only do in a pinch. But I do appreciate the role it plays in local culture. And more importantly, I believe there should be very few limits on the location of legal businesses. If it's not a hazard, then we should generally err on the side of leaving the business alone. We have far too rigid an interpretation of zoning in this city, the result being lots of hand wringing about something being slightly too big, or having the wrong kind of sign. If it's not a good place for a Dunkin Donuts, then the franchise will fail, and something better will move in. That's how it ought to work.

There are too many failed

There are too many failed businesses and empty storefronts in Boston. I would think DD would prefer to operate a successful franchise location in a location with a strong customer base. That makes logical business sense.

I'm sure they would

and if Dunks did their homework, then they probably have reason to believe that the location would be successful. The point is that we should let them take that risk. If it works, great, that's a win for everybody. If not, then Dunkin Donuts loses out on the investment, and the neighbors can start planning how to protest the next entrepreneur who wants to move in.

"role in local culture..." huh?

So--you agree that their coffee and donuts suck but you appreciate their "role in local culture?" What does that even mean? I'll add too that I don't even live in the South End and have no vested interest in what goes in that spot, but I'm scratching my head trying to imagine the beneficial cultural aspects of having a giant chain coffee shop in my 'hood as opposed to...oh, I don't know--a place that actually serves good coffee? Or isn't trying to take over the world with rubber-stamped drive-thru locations every three blocks? Or that maybe bakes their own pastries or promotes free-trade coffee, or a mellow sit-down atmosphere, or air quality free of blueberry-coconut-faux-hazelnut fumes. Seriously. I appreciate that DD's started locally, but otherwise I just don't see them as a proud flagship of local culture in any way.

Well, you clearly have some hate for Dunks

but I'll still try to explain my meaning about culture. It is a local company, much loved by a vast majority of locals. It's kind of like the Redsox, something that is a strong tradition in Boston, noticeably present throughout the city, and something that I can enjoy either as a fan or simply as a friend/acquaintance of fans. I like that people reference Dunkin Donuts as a land mark when giving directions. I like that there is a local terminology that means that a "regulah" is cream and two sugars. I get a kick out of that sort of thing even though I rarely drink the coffee, and when I do, I damn well don't want a regulah. If you don't appreciate the role that it plays, that's fine, but it is still a deeply important part of our regional identity.

Oh, and by the way, I don't agree that their coffee and donuts suck. The donuts are no worse than any other donuts in New England, but I happen to like a different style. That doesn't mean I hate the ones here, just that I find the offerings limited. As for the coffee, it's acceptable, not my first choice, but as I said in my original post, it will do in a pinch. Don't read anything more into it than that, because I certainly would not claim that it sucks.

Their donuts

have gone way downhill.

They have moved on from their old Fred the Baker commercials.

They're still technically baked daily, but they are not made daily. The dough is now prepackaged, frozen and then thawed at their donuts factories... which is my guess for the noticeable notch in quality. Or maybe it's just my age.

As for their coffee, as long as it's not stale or burnt, I'm a fan. Much better than Starbucks coffee IMO. Starbucks does do everything else better though, which is the everything else people seem to go for when saying they want a cup of Joe.

As for their other stuff, I pass, but others seems to like their other offerings. No need to snobbery put down dunks. There wouldn't be a million in MA if they were really that bad, especially with a product that people take as seriously as coffee.

I guess I do then.

Because I totally hear you--I have the same kind of sentimental attachment towards it as a local institution, but ugghhhhh...I just wish it was actually GOOD! I mean--years of close calls aside, the Red Sox are a great team. Fenway is a great ballpark. I just hate the fact that our local mug of choice is pallid and weak and characterless--oh, until they start adding artificial blueberry flavors or whatever godforsaken syrups they come up with. DD's also didn't invent the "regulah" coffee and again--their donuts are notably bland and awful when they used to be pretty good (and they were the ones who got rid of the "crullers" so you now have to order a "chocolate stick." I mean, come on...) Then again, we have a great history of trashing our great local institutions one way or another--see Brigham's, Filene's Basement...

Honey Dew

I actually like the Honey Dew chain far better than Dunkin Donuts (I REFUSE to say "Dunks"), though their muffins can be a little dry, but there aren't that many of them and many seem to exist inside convenience stores, which relegates them to "concession stand" type status.

Something

About their chocolate donuts always put me off. Bittersweet or just chalky in taste. The rest is good.

That was a while ago, so not sure if they've improved the recipe.

There's Doughboy Donuts & Deli in Southie, but they're off the path for most (Dot Ave south of Broadway). Excellent choice and nice people.

Wowch!

Just because YOU don't like Dunkin' Donuts and can afford to go to a "a place that actually serves good coffee? ... that maybe bakes their own pastries or promotes free-trade coffee, or a mellow sit-down atmosphere, or air quality free of blueberry-coconut-faux-hazelnut fumes..." doesn't mean that everyone else in your 'hood can.

As for being a "proud flagship of local culture", well maybe that is true from YOUR perspective (and honestly it makes you sound smug), but the guy (Clayton Trumbull) who was trying to put a Dunkin' Donuts in this space represents the successes of a minority-owned franchise - apparently he has 18 other locations and employs around 250 people. So while Dunkin' Donuts might not be fancy enough for you, to me, especially in Boston, that is certainly something to be proud of.

Why don't you develop a franchise that you can market to a diverse range of owners that will be successful in both in poor AND in affluent neighborhoods that isn't a drugstore or supermarket or a fast food restaurant that YOU can be proud of. Then start being judgey.

DD is as expensive as Sbux

DD is as expensive as Sbux when it comes to coffee. Get over your holier-than-thou faux blue-collar soap box. That's cool if you like cool-whip and snickerdoodle in your coffee, but some of us just want a good cup of black coffee without all the synthetic-tasting bells and whistles. You want to support a formerly local chain gone global corporate? More power to you. I'll stick with the indie coffee shops where I can actually get coffee without the plastic pink and orange neon corporate marketing garbage.

Yup

But that's not their draw, nor is it any better, if better at all.

Starbucks doesn't sell too much coffee. They sell quite a bit of coffee flavored mocha drinks and chocolate things. And that stuffs double the price.

NTTAWWT

Oh cry me a river...

...about the poor, downtrodden masses who can only afford to buy crappy doughnuts and gallon-sized hazelberry choconut lattes. As many others have pointed out, there are several other DDs within a stone's throw of this place. And--snort--are you really worried about all the penniless South Enders who can't afford the (minimal) difference between DD's and yeah--maybe an independently-owned coffee place?

As I said before, I don't live in the South End--love to, but can't afford it. And most days we make our coffee at home--you'd be surprised how good it can be and how much money you'll save. Then again, it sounds strangely as if you have a dog in this fight, which I don't.

One thing I always wondered

is how many of these clique boutique shops pay their employees a livable wage and benefits? I'm guessing not many, especially with the rents for businesses in Boston.

Which means the fight ends up totally about appearance and preference, not about growing the local economy.

People who pay big bucks to

People who pay big bucks to live in tiny spaces in the South End are paying because they prefer the appearance of an historical neighborhood. So, it's hardly surprising that part of this fight is about appearance. What of it? I wouldn't want to live on top of or next to a DD or a Sbux either. Some people pay to live in triple deckers so they can have a yard and a driveway. To each his own.

That 'historical

That 'historical neighborhood' was the home of rooming houses, pawn shops and generaly decay for much of its life, and it was a positive slum until quite recently. What the current residents want is something that wasn't there since the time the area was first developed.

No shit Sherlock. My

No shit Sherlock. My grandfather was born in the South End in a rooming house a long time ago. Do you have a problem with historical neighborhoods? I'm pretty damn happy that the buildings in that neighborhood have been deemed worthy of saving under the guise of historical neighborhood instead of being razed for your precious Dunkin' Donuts, McDonald's and Wal-Mart boring corporate chains. There are plenty of DD's in Boston for your pink and orange styrofoam drinking pleasure. Is one less going to kill you?

nono

Thats fine. I was just wondering out loud if those smaller shops actually ARE better for the local economy. Are they paying better and are they bringing more to the table to grow the neighborhood besides the superficial. Or are they operating on the same small margins and putting up a facade.

Probably a little of both.

To each his own, but the best part of a city neighborhood is it's diversity and economic vitality. Otherwise you end up living in a tower island, like some of the areas around Chinatown and soon to be DTX/financial district.

As a consumer, I'd love for a way to check on local businesses and find out if their employees are well compensated, and enjoy the workplace. I'd rather spend a few more bucks supporting them than one that puts on that appearance but are keeping the profits to themselves.

Just a thought.

The problem with Dunk's

From a neighborhood perspective, the problems with Dunk's are:

  • Business is heavily weighted toward morning rush hour. Double parking right at the same time that everyone is trying to use the road to get to work.
  • Dunkin Donuts locations attract panhandlers, some of whom are drunk, aggressive, and otherwise unpleasant to have to deal with.

Most neighborhoods would prefer to see a retail business whose traffic is more spread out throughout the day; ideally one that stays open into the evening (a busy pedestrian street with stores open is a safe street).

I generally hate Dunks

as well (I don't drink coffee anyway), but what is the neighborhood proposing for this location in lieu of the Dunks? Where's the meaningful (i.e. fact based) justification to support their position that a Dunks shouldn't occupy the location (double parking and panhandlers are perceptions, at least based on all the Dunks I pass by daily)? Have any realistic alternatives to Dunks that would get a business in this location been proposed?

(expecting silence and backwards glances fron the crowd)

That's what I thought. More NIMBY opposition for the sake of opposition.

Leave the dog bakery out of this.

My dog loves it in there. And neither my dog nor I like Dunkin donuts (ok well my dog does like DD). I say they put a pub in that space where dogs are allowed.

And the bakery is far from over priced. There are tons of small dog snacks for good prices that you can't get anywhere else. (I agree that the accessories and stuff is probably overpriced)

I have a hilarious photo

Of my dogs with their noses pressed against the glass door at Polka Dog, lured apparently by the funkalicious smell of all of those delicious, innard-based treats inside. We go there not for the baked goods but for all of those compelling things--fish skin, lamb gullets, bull penises, etc. Sorry, Kathode, but if your dog could talk and you asked her "would you rather have a nice long walk OR a nice long walk followed by a pig ear?" which do you think she'd choose?

Dvdoff, dogs should be

Treated as our pets with love, walks and treats. Why people feel the need to anthropomorphize their pets so that they are consumers needing doggie gourmet food, spas, play dates and clothing is a reflection of our society's messed up value system, especially when so many people live in dire straits.

Thanks for asking.

Um...

Yeah...treats, hence the bakery. You may be missing the concept--they do not serve cappuccino or scones, but they do in fact have a lot of gross, meaty treats which any dog would kill for.

luxuries

So... people in dire straits shouldn't be bringing their dogs to a pet spa or buying them expensive specialty pig ears. I totally agree.

However, are you saying that people who are employed, work hard and earn a sufficient living shouldn't buy their pets little sweaters and doggy cupcakes because some people are unemployed?

Are you saying parents shouldn't give their kids an Xbox for Christmas because other kids' parents can't afford an Xbox?

Where do you draw the line?

Speaking as a pet owner, One must bear in mind, Kathode,

that one doesn't have to view pets as "consumers" in our society to realize how important pets really are to people, no matter what their walk of life. While it's agreed that getting really frivolous stuff for pets really is a bit much, food, toys and comfortable bedding for them, as well as veterinary care if and when they do get sick, are important things to obtain for pets.

My dog is a consumer,can't deny it

His vet bill supports a small business. The food I buy for him at the Belmont Pet Shop supports a small business. I will admit also, there have been times in my life where I've dumpster dived to feed my dog, ahead of myself.

While I see your point about going overboard and the fact that some people purchase ridiculous items for their dogs to up their profile with other dog owners, there is nothing I will not do for my dogs. They have literally restored my faith in humanity and while I'm an admitted agnostic, I believe they are gifts from our creators.

The hyperbole was over the

The hyperbole was over the top. The thing that frustrated me was that we never got to see what was proposed. There are a lot of complaints here about what a standard Dunkin Donuts would do that space but the owner was proposing a concept store that included Dunkin Donuts. Not a MEGA D&Ds. They idea could have sucked or could have been great. I do know that I've been in Starbucks 4 times over the last week and was unable to get a place to sit down and eat my food. Over the weekend I coudn't find a table at Flour, Starbucks and Jaho. I ended up going home. So maybe there is a need for another business like this in the area.

Haven't seen them here yet

But down in CT there's some really nice Dunks they've put in ritzy areas.

Lounge areas with couches, recliners and desks to work at. TV's with business oriented channels on during the weekday, sports on weekends, fireplaces, ect.

Not your typical "Dunks drive through is packed so going inside sort of deal". Similar to Starbucks, but a little more quiet and a bit brighter.

I was surprised when I went inside one .

Even if they put in Eames chairs...

Or Chippendale sofas, I still wouldn't go there because IT'S NOT GOOD COFFEE. Not all of this stuff is class-driven hype or Sociology 101. I don't need ritziness--I just want a crispy doughnut and a cup of coffee that doesn't taste like someone dragged a coffee bean through it on a piece of string.

24 Hour

The dunks in question here was supposed to be open 24 hours. That definitely puts a strain on the neighborhood and brings in a bad element in the middle of the night. Nothing else even close to here is open 24 hours, nor does it need to be.

Before people scream about NIMBYS or South End snobs, they should understand the facts.

The neighborhood did not deny anything

The neighborhood did not deny anything - the neighborhood association(s) have no legal authority to deny or grant zoning variances; they merely voiced their opinion, which the city can choose to consider or not.

The process works like this:

When you ask the city for a zoning variance, the city is required to give the neighbors an opportunity to comment on the proposed variance (but the city is not legally obligated to act in accordance with what the majority of the neighbors say: it is not a voting process). And the city generally (but not always) listens to the neighborhood associations, because they generally (but not always) speak for the political will of the neighborhood. But the neighborhood associations have no specific legal role to play in the permitting process.

Nothing's worse than a

Nothing's worse than a backseat driver... is there are term for a backseat neighbor? As in, I don't live in your neighborhood, but I'm going to bitch about whatever the yuppies in the South End do, and the hipsters in Allston, and the Townies in Southie, etc., etc.