Roslindale substation back in business for first time in 45 years, this time as a craft-beer store, with restaurant to follow

Selling craft beer in the substation basement

Making a sale in the substation.

Roslindale substation back in business for first time in 45 years, this time as a craft-beer store, with restaurant to follow

Roslindale residents, city politicians and Keytar Bear gathered this morning at the old Boston Elevated substation to formally open the new Craft Beer Cellar and to take a look at the state of the cavernous main space, which will become a Chris Douglass restaurant called the Third Rail.

Even before the official ribbon cutting, business was brisk at the shop - actually located in the building's cellar - as residents stocked up on beers. Mayor Walsh joked it was a good thing owner Bryan Reeves opened his doors at 11 a.m. - people would have enough time to drink their first rounds, then come back for more for the Patriots game.

The opening was particularly sweet for Adam Rogoff and other members of a residents group that first started trying to do something with the abandoned station - which once powered the trolleys that used to run along Washington Street and Cummins Highway - some 14 years ago.

Historic Boston, Inc. and the Peregrine Group teamed up on the $4.8-million rebab of the 105-year-old substation, which will be paid for in part by the 49-unit apartment building that now wraps around the substation

Reeves cuts the ceremonial ribbon with help from Mayor Walsh, City Councilor Tim McCarthy, state Rep. Liz Malia and state Sen. Mike Rush:

Ribbon cutting

Green Monsta beer is local beer and local beer is fresh:

Local beer
Local beer

They left the hook - which in its day could hold 25 tons:

Hook

Long boarded-up windows have been replaced:

Substation windows

The main doors are 18 feet high and 6 1/2 feet wide:

Substation doors

Plenty of space for a restaurant:

Substation space

Keytar Beer Bear:

Keytar Bear

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Comments

Congratulations

to the group of residents that worked on this project for so long. They should be proud of their efforts.

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Voting is closed. 42

I dunno, Gaffin

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After your reaction to the impending arrival of Cricket Wireless and whatever that convenience store is, I was guessing your reaction to this would be along the lines of "another place to buy beer opens a block from the liquor store", but whatever.

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Voting is closed. 11

Yep, right

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My glasses are so thick I can't see the difference between Yet Another Phone Store and a $5 million project people have been working on for 4 years.

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Voting is closed. 43

So

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If I'm following your logic, if the people who rehabbed the old restaurant 2 blocks away had spent $5 million more to create 2 commercial entities, you would have been okay that the tenants provided services already provided in the Square, right?

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Voting is closed. 10

Maybe

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Depends on the project. As noted elsewhere, this is a transformative project for the square. A phone store isn't. Somebody who spends $5 million to put in a phone store on Washington Street would need to have his head examined.

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Voting is closed. 24

I'd argue that a cell phone shop is a lot more valuable to

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the community than someplace pushing alcohol. Oh, but the people who shop at this place are going to be the "trendster" consumers of alcohol who never drive drunk, engage in domestic violence, or develop an addiction. Because those sorts of outcomes only befall losers. /s

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Voting is closed. 11

Oh so angry

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It's a craft-beer store (with five employees), a restaurant (with 25 or 30) and a 49-apartment building. In total, I'll take that over a phone store.

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Voting is closed. 47

I'm with the anon

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And to be clear, I have nothing against either the "craft beer" store or the restaurant. They are revitalizing a building whose rebirth was heralded back in the 1980s, when I was in high school, so that's a good thing.

My point is that you were and seemingly still are very dismissive of development that benefits the masses while gushing about a beer store. I think the square can handle both types of commercial, but if you are going to insist that we only need one store that sells mobile phones and data plans, I'll insist that the liquor store on Corinth Street can meet all the alcohol needs in the neighborhood. In the end, the market will bear things out.

Also, I'm willing to bet anything that the restaurant doesn't end up with 30 FTEs, but admittedly I don't know much about the business.

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Voting is closed. 13

Eh?

development that benefits the masses

Phone stores benefit the masses, but beer stores don't? My experience is completely counter to this; I have shopped in many beer stores, some of them crafty, but have never set foot in a phone store. Small sample, yes.

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Voting is closed. 35

Full disclosure: I'm not

Full disclosure: I'm not excited about the new convenience store or the new phone store. However, I wish that we would all be a little more vigilant about using our own personal preferences to judge the value of a new business. Over and over, I see complaints about "too many barber shops" and "too many nail salons" in Roslindale. If you don't personally use a barbershop, of course you'll think there are too many. If you don't use one of the small businesses that bill themselves as "phone shops" (but offer a number of other services, speak Spanish or Haitian Creole, etc.), you'll think there are too many.

I think our individual visions for the square tend to exclude our neighbors, but in a city, shouldn't there be room for everyone?

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Voting is closed. 17

Thing is - all those complaints are from a very few persons

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There's just a few cranks here who like to poop on any upbeat Rosi news (ditto JP, and other neighborhoods). Pretty much the same sourpusses who have burrs up their bums about the 'village' vs 'square' mishigas.

Don't mistake their lonely basement drone for any sort of groundswell.

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Voting is closed. 23

Do you own a mobile phone?

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If you do, the odds are great you bought it somewhere. Mobile phone use is a lot more common than consumption of craft beer.

The thing is that I have no problem with either being sold in the square, but I guess we should all just have plans from MetroPCS if Adam had his way.

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Voting is closed. 9

People buy phones over the internet

People don't buy much beer over the internet. Probably wouldn't do so unless they live in a rural paradise in a "dry county" with no other options (rather than one of our burning crime-ridden urban areas full of those scary people).

In any case, it is a matter of viability, regardless of one person's aesthetics or another's parochial belief that the only legal bars should be at the KofC or VFW.

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Voting is closed. 17

I have never bought a phone over the Internet

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You need to broaden your universe of people. Roslindale is full of people who sometimes buy things the old fashioned way.

But once again, be it craft beer, mobile phones, pet products, or whatever, I think poo pooing a business going in because we already have a store that sells what they are selling is bad. If that's Adam's M.O., he should be intellectually honest about it.

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Voting is closed. 7

Really?

I'm sure it is.

What is so difficult about going downtown or to a mall to do that one-time in two or three year purchase of a phone? You should broaden your horizons and head into the "burning, crime infested" city sometime. Lots of phone stores within a couple of blocks for that old-fashioned comparison shopping.

If you aren't still renting an old fashioned phone for tradition sake.

Meanwhile, many more "old fashioned" people buy beer locally every week.

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Voting is closed. 9

Or

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Those people who have a burning desire for craft beer could make a similar trip to get what they want, too. According to Gaffin's doctrine of business, which appears to be supported by yourself, all of Roslindale's alcohol needs can be satisfied on Corinth Street, just as their mobile phone needs can be met by that one store, regardless of the fact that their consumer desires will probably not be met.

And remember, unlike you, I actually live in the city, not some suburb where people say they are from Boston when they head out of state. And for that matter, doesn't the fact that Verizon and AT&T have opened large retail ventures in the Back Bay in recent years run counter to a decline in people visiting stores to buy phones?

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Voting is closed. 9

Weekly versus yearly

People buy beer pretty much weekly - lots more foot traffic. Cel phones? Yearly if you have money to throw around, maybe. Also, cell phones weigh a lot less - much easier to lug on the T.

Keep digging, though - I hear that in-ground tiny homes are going to be all the next rage and you'll be coming out ahead.

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Voting is closed. 10

One of us is digging

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But it ain't me.

Still, why are the 2 largest cell phone providers still opening large stores? And why is it bad that an upstart is locating in the Square?

And as to the other new business, are you saying people should go downtown to visit a convenience store?

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Voting is closed. 6

Cricket's market is prepaid plans

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And you can pay in person in the stores. That's the reason for the store. The clientele will buy a phone and pay for service at the store.

They're not buying phones over the Internet.

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Voting is closed. 9

And they'll be paying on the service repeatedly

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That's the business model. For people w/o credit. They'll pay for phone service every week or 2 on payday. It's how they pay other bills too.

I'm sure there will be plenty of foot traffic at that store.

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Voting is closed. 5

I don't think it's the beer store

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Um, the space is pretty impressive. And the renovation is historic and the mayor AND Keytar Bear were there.
And the whole development is really on a scale much different than a couple storefronts.

I'm OK with the amount of coverage AG has given it.

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Voting is closed. 11

What a stupid conversation,

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What a stupid conversation, why are you bringing up a silly phone store? Cricket will actually charge you more if you go into the store instead of doing things online. Which you should have no problems doing these days.

No, we do not need more mattress or cell phone stores, or "your local town name" bank. Craft Beer Cellar is awesome. Case closed.

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Voting is closed. 12

Never Change

When I saw Adam posted this, I knew someone would poo poo it and you were a top pick. Thank you for meeting expectations.

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Voting is closed. 29

Thank you

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I aim to please.

Now, an acquaintance of mine has at various points notes that (1) the Higgins property is a bad place for apartments and cannot see how people could live there and (2) they should have just torn the substation down to make building something in that area easier. I am not making this up. If he had posted, he would have exceeded your expectations.

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Voting is closed. 7

Terrific day for Roslindale

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It's amazing to see a historic building right at the busiest intersection in the neighborhood start to realize its vast potential. I'm proud to call many of the people who spent 14 years working on this project my friends, and I hope everyone can both recognize how transformative this project will be and appreciate the amount of work it takes to make a nearly $5M renovation a reality.

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Voting is closed. 41

Congrats Chris

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Look forward to meeting you there for a beer some day. Maybe we can grab a few to go and take them up to the train club! :-)

Well done -great addition to the neighborhood.

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Voting is closed. 15

But what will we talk about?

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Are you sure we can find a topic we're both interested in? ;)

And thanks for the congratulations, but I'll have to pass them on as I was at best peripherally involved in this project.

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Voting is closed. 5

Great beer selection

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They even have a couple ESBs. Glad to have them in the neighborhood.

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Voting is closed. 15

This is what

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Gentrification

looks like.

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Voting is closed. 13

Nice try

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Have you been to Roslindale Square in the last 20 years?

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Voting is closed. 34

Unlike you

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I grew up here, so yes I have.

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Voting is closed. 11

What you are is an attention troll

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And possibly a liar if you're so clueless about the details of daily life here.

If comfortable, friendly, well-stocked places to buy good food and drink is 'gentrification', then Rosi passed that line at least 50 years ago when Tony opened up shop. Or wait, maybe it was when the third or fourth bakery opened up a couple decades ago. Or the cheese shop, or solera, or the dressmakers, or the spa, or...

...no no you must be right - it must not be any of those places that opened up years and years ago. It's the beer store. After all, it's a well-known fact that decent non-gentrified folk don't care for snobby potations like beer.

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Voting is closed. 18

Beer

is the new Moet. Or is it Chardonnay. Remember when it was white wine that signified OMG change?

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Voting is closed. 6

Ah, well, then

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You remember when Roslindale Square was a barren place with a literal hole right in the center. Yeah, those were the days.

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Voting is closed. 8

Silly

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If gentrification means rehabbing an abandoned building into a shop and restaurant while also building dozens of units of affordable apartments on what was previously an undurused funeral home and parking lot, I'll take it. Enough with the gentrification sob story thank you. This is just called change. Deal with it.

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Voting is closed. 32

Oh boo hoo.

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Do you have some kind of well-balanced ideal business scenario you'd like to see instead of a restaurant and a liquor store? Why does it seem that the anti-gentrification crowd never offers actual proposals or options--just whines? It's like you've never visited a declining or distressed neighborhood in your life or considered the alternative to what you reflexively label "gentrification."

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Voting is closed. 18

Good points, except ...

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I wouldn't call Roslindale Square declining or distressed. Now, 25 years ago, yes, it was - right down to the hole where the department store used to be (sound familiar?). But 25 years of hard work by residents and business people and property owners willing to take a chance, with some help from the city, has created a neighborhood business district where you can both pick up daily essentials and go out for a meal. But yeah, people whining about the restoration of a giant eyesore into a job-creating place where people can pick up a beer or (eventually) go out for dinner are either just cranky or trolling.

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Voting is closed. 12

Not at all.

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I just meant distress or decline as a very real alternative to growth, change, and yes, sometimes out-of-hand, overwhelming gentrification or development. Boston's success has been a mixed blessing in some ways--rising inequality, the cost of housing--but I think people often forget that with a few tweaks of history and fate, we could be a Hartford or a Baltimore, with a whole different set of challenges.

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Voting is closed. 6

I just want

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I just want that guys in the first pic's big beard..

oh wait, I almost already do. A few more months and it will be!

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Voting is closed. 11

Whatevah

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I'll take my PBR and a shot of bourbon any day over a craft IPA.

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Voting is closed. 9

B.K.'s

Head over to B.K.'s then, just up Washington St from the substation. Fun old school joint.

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Voting is closed. 9

A shot of bourbon? I hope you

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A shot of bourbon? I hope you're drinking JD and not wasting the good stuff.

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Voting is closed. 10

Outstanding

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I cannot wait to visit in person. This is an amazing accomplishment for those who worked in the community for many years to get this building rehabbed and a terrific addition to the neighborhood. Progress.

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Voting is closed. 9

Great job!

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So happy to see this building coming back to life:) went to lunch at Blue Star , then stopped at the craft beer store, peeked upstairs and then went to the neighborhood chees shop for some Manchego. If everyone supports local businesses they thrive and keep money locally.....and the upstairs space rivals the lobby of the Liberty Hotel! Can't wait to see it done.

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Voting is closed. 12

Stopped In Tonight

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I had a disappointing visit to the Craft Beer Cellar. They have nothing that you can't get at Macy's, Gary's or Blanchard's. And the prices are uniformly $2 more per six pack than those stores. Where are the obscure but elite local New England beers? Trillium? Night Shift? Lawton's? Stoneface? Singlecut? The Alchemist? Beer'd?

I give this place 6 months.

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Voting is closed. 5

Give them time

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If there wasn't a market, they wouldn't have opened. After all, there are 2 places to get wine on Corinth Street, and they both must be doing okay.

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Voting is closed. 5