A neighborhood retail area that relies on foot traffic is no place for a pizza place that claims most of its business consists of deliveries, Roslindale Square residents and businesspeople told Domino's, which wants to move from a mini-mall off the West Roxbury Parkway to a storefront in Roslindale Square.
Close to 200 people packed a basement meeting room at the Roslindale Community Center tonight to oppose the proposed new location in the office building next to the library, across from Adams Park. Local businesspeople, residents and the city haven't spent 20 years turning Roslindale Village into today's electic collection of mostly locally owned shops and restaurants just to let a delivery business move in, they said.
But William Mohan, a Domino's consultant, said opponents were voicing their support for a Roslindale with vacant storefronts - he said three of the four retail spaces in the building have been vacant for 18 months - and that opponents were outnumbered by the 2,000 Roslindale residents he claimed order from Domino's every year.
Mohan said 90% of the current store's business is delivery and that he expected that to continue in the new location, which he said meant there would be little impact on traffic or pedestrian safety.
Residents pounced on that, saying the worst thing for a retail district built on foot traffic would be a storefront nobody visits. But some residents didn't buy that Domino's didn't want to increase its foot traffic - why else insist on moving up Washington Street, into the heart of Roslindale Square? And that, they said, raised the spectre of even worse traffic problems already caused by people dashing into the Subway shop in the same building from their illegally parked cars.
Roslindale Village Main Street and residents countered that they want to work with the building's owner to bring the sort of businesses that would work well in the square. Some residents pointed to the slow and careful approach taken by Stavros Frantzis, owner of buildings along Birch and Corinth streets, to bring boutiques and restaurants to the area.
The owners of the Roslindale House of Pizza and Romano's - the two pizza places closest to the proposed Domino's - were joined in their opposition by the owner of the Roslindale Hardware Store, who said he's been working for decades to help turn Roslindale Square into the diverse collection of locally owned stores it is today.
Domino's does not yet have a lease, but if it gets one, its next step would be a hearing before the Boston Licensing Board, which grants food-serving licenses.