Shocking news in Roslindale: Long awaited Third Rail restaurant is dead

Substation interior

The space back in January, when the Craft Beer Cellar opened underneath.

Roslindale Village Main Street reports that chef Chris Douglass has ended his plans for a restaurant in the old trolley substation in Roslindale Square.

The group says it's now looking for another tenant for the large space, which it, local residents and Historic Boston have been working to bring back to life after decades of it slowly falling apart.

Douglas's had run into repeated issues with his revamp of the former transformer Hall, starting with a delay in getting a new power cable to the space last year and unspecified issues related to the historical nature of the building

Bryan Reeves's Craft Beer Cellar is open in the building's basement.

Until it finds a new tenant, RVMS plans pop-up events in the space, starting with a Halloween film series next month.

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This sucks and is also not surprising

Redd's cut back service by a night even before new Derna's opened but the Square was supposed to support another similar but larger restaurant? I'd also suspect the utilities for a space that big are going to be steep in the heating season. Who is actually on the hook for the redevelopment costs at this point?

Maybe that proposed (huge) Cajun place can move in here instead of Jerusalem Trading Post's old space.

While I hugely commend the work RVMS does, this is a wild overstatement- "The long road to the Roslindale Substation’s redevelopment is one of the great success stories of this neighborhood." Roslindale is already a great a neighborhood and this would be a nice development but it's not make or break. At all. The housing development was a great addition, for sure though, along with all the other new housing in the area.

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Voting is closed. 14

Now you got me thinking (unfortunately)

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I do think it is a bummer that this great space, whose development has been in the works to some extent since the 1980s, will not be permanently occupied for the foreseeable future.

That said, I for some reason remain stuck on a snarky article written by Adam about a year ago about some new shops opening across from Dunkin Donuts. His tone was that "yet another" convienence store and "yet another" cell phone shop were going to open. Well, it looks like we won't be getting "yet another" restaurant in the square after all.

Still, it would be nice for something to go in there.

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Taking a long empty and

Taking a long empty and frankly useless landmark building and turning it into 40+ units of housing and a commercial location for at least two businesses was no small feat. All the more so when you consider it was done largely on a volunteer basis by residents. Doesn't mean Roslindale isn't already a great place, of course it was and is. Just speaks to the enormity of this project considering where it began.

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Yeah but no?

As noted, 40+ units of housing is great. The substation wasn't turned into 40 units of housing though so it's weird to call that not yet achieved accomplishment as the big win here vs the real good thing that is a done deal with people living in them. The 40 units are way more vital to the neighborhood than whatever the substation ends up being. That's all.

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Voting is closed. 22

That stinks

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I swear that place is cursed. The number of business plans that place has devoured is scary.

I totally think a good restaurant in that space would thrive and wouldn't pull away patrons from the other restaurants in the square. If it's good, people will come in from outside of Roslindale to go there. I hope someone with deep pockets can finally get it up and running (in my lifetime.)

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You really think?

I think Rosi is at peak restaurant even with all the new development.

ANEDOCTAL "DATA" ALERT
When I lived inbound on the Orange Line, we almost never came out to Rosi for dinner except on rare occasion. The idea of taking the T to a bus to the square simply didn't appeal vs. going somewhere with more going on than just restaurants, like bars. I think the current crop of places do well locally and pull in people who drive and walk from this and surrounding neighborhoods. But I don't see any precedent for a big 'destination' restaurant out here in a relatively sleepy 'suburb'. Especially one with no parking and limited evening public transport.

It's a white elephant unless someone can convince the people who threw all the money into it operate it at a loss or break-even to be a farmer's market / christmas market / bar kind of thing.

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no parking?

There's a quite sizable public lot right off the square, and ample street parking. That's not the issue.

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We're on the same wavelength-

We're on the same wavelength-- my first thought was a junior outpost of the Public Market.

However, if anyone wants to run a bookstore cafe, I may *cough* know someone with experience willing to manage it.

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No way

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Cat cafes are doomed in Boston as well.

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AnodeDine?

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Who could object to that?

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But ...

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Could they keep the project on track?

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Dynamo Diner

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... or similar. It did house dynamos that worked until the very early 1960s. It originally powered the overhead trolley wires and later the trackless trolley wires. When those were discontinued they ran power underground by cable to Forest Hills and Arborway Stations, but only at peak service times and only when there was a problem with supply coming from elsewhere. The T has several back-up power stations when its primaries are off line and they only cut in when needed.

With modern conversion techniques, they are much smaller and often not seen.

For the younger crowd the bus yard next to Forest Hills was its own stop, "Arborway" which is where the "E" trolley used to end as well as all fo the area buses. The buses passed through Forest Hills but did not end there. They were all labeled "Arborway" back in the day. When Arborway as a station closed the buses then took on Forest Hills as its terminus.

I seem to remember stories of the building having issues getting utilities installed including both gas and electric.

The building has water and sewer of course but I hope they installed back-flow devices. When the Square flooded in 2009 after several consecutive rain storms (like close to a foot of rain in 3 days) several buildings in the square flooded, specifically the older ones that did not have back-flow valves on their sewer lines because both the drain and sewer systems backed up all over the area. The municipal building took an 8-inch hit that closed it for several days and closed the lower level to access for a few weeks while it was pumped, and re-plastered. There are still scars to be seen from that.

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In the know, they were never

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In the know, they were never called dynamos. They were called rotary converters.

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Bummer

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That is a real bummer. I doubt this is an issue of "too much competition" among local restaurants. I suspect this has more to do with getting mired in permiting in an unusual space, and delay impacting financing, impacting excitement, snowball.....

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Voting is closed. 27

too bad

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Place would make a great concert venue in an area that has very few performance spaces. But alas funding for that and the usual neighborhood opposition for such ventures makes it about as much of a pipe dream as a functional MBTA.

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That's what I was thinking,

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That's what I was thinking, small performance space, maybe supplemented as an events hall / rental space.

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