Saying farewell to the man who helped revive commercial areas in both JP and Roslindale

The Jamaica Plain Gazette notes the death of Stavros Frantzis, 72.

Twenty years ago, he and former partner Mordechai Levin rehabbed a notorious Hyde Square nightclub and cut a bargain deal to make it the home of Bella Luna Restaurant and Milky Way Lounge. The project revitalized the neighborhood, and Bella Luna/Milky Way is now a JP institution. (Its controversial rent-dispute move to The Brewery came years after Stavros was out of the picture.)

Frantzis did similar work in Roslindale Square in the area surrounding Birch Street, which now features a number of restaurants and boutiques, as well as a European-style courtyard.

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the future

it will be interesting to see what happens with his properties going forward. I know some of the former tenants of his Roslindale spaces were very happy to move out due to the high rents (according to them) that he charged.

I love the development of the courtyard, but it would be great if the Birch St. business turnover would level off. It seems like Solera + the cheese shop are stable, but everything else seems to change over every year or two and I think rent costs are part of that.

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Disagree about lack of long term Birch St businesses

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I totally share your concern about excessive rents forcing out promising young businesses (who wasn't sorry to see Sarida close?) - this seems a huge problem in every Boston neighborhood I've lived in (BB,SE, Rox, JP, Rosi).

But I have to say that it seems to me that Birch St has become much more stable in the last few years. In addition to the stores you mentioned - The Boston Cheese Cellar and Solera (which actually moved there from its original spot on Corinth) - there are a bunch of others that have been there for years now:

Birch Street House and Garden
Birch Street Bistro
Sophia's Grotto
Joanne Rossman Design
The Emerald Society (not technically a biz, but a long term resident)

And even though Sebastion's has a Corinth Street address, it's long presense on the corner anchors the street.

Because it's short and the business fronts are only along the south side sidewalk, Birch street is definitely a tough location to bootstrap a new biz. The latest newcomer, Akasha yoga, is already very well established in JP, so hopefully they'll be able to depend on their existing Rosi clients while they pull in new customers (hint - they could start by offering BlissKids sessions there, my daughter's class is already 90% Rosi and WRox kids - and there are a lot of kids in Rosi).

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Come to Hyde Park

Cleary Square has way more affordable rents and a bunch of storefronts that would be more than welcoming to businesses being forced out due to high rent.

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Yes but

I'm referring to the properties owned by this guy. Birch St. House & Garden, Joanne Rossman, the flower store are in a building owned by the model railroad folks. Specifically, the two stores between Village Fish and Jax turn over yearly and the other three spaces on Birch St that aren't the bistro, the cheese store and Solera have turned over pretty regularly. That's all the same landlord.

I'm not blaming this guy - the bookstore/Minerva's Owl space is also turning over pretty regularly and I don't think those are the same landlord. Roslindale is a bad spot for most retail IMO.

What is happening with Select Cafe's space? The guys at Rialto said Bob's Pita's old space was going to be a pizzeria, but I haven't heard anything about Select.

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This is not a new issue

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The Square has had this issue for decades- storefronts fill up, rents go up, businesses leave, there is concern. Give it a few years and things will be back to normal.

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would be nice if corinth street get some attention

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and that horrible "parking lot" next to village market could use a nicer treatment/design... it's always strewn with trash, those cheap plastic tree grates are half gone... cars could still park back there, but maybe they could put in pavers and some fences around the dumpsters/back of house areas (suya joint could get some outside seating back there) - and remove those useless sidewalks - cars move slowly through there so people and cars could mix pretty easily

already it reminds me of this:

https://maps.google.com/maps?q=rome,+italy&hl=en&ll=41.888879,12.470942&...

but maybe with a little less graffiti. :P

I'm hoping once the substation/apartment building finally happens and adams park is done later this spring it will help bring some activity to that direction of the square...

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