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Downtown landlord says it's close to sewing up restaurant to replace Windsor Button Shop

The owner of the former Windsor Button Shop on Temple Place told the Boston Licensing Board he's close to an agreement with a restaurant operator to take over the space that was once promised to become a downtown outlet of a Somerville Mexican place.

Ed Champy of the Waypoint Companies and his attorney, Joe Hanley, asked the board for six months in which to conclude a contract and get the new restaurant built. The company got a liquor license in 2013. Holders of liquor licenses - which can go for upwards of $400,000 in the downtown area, are not supposed to just sit on them. The board has already granted one extension to Waypoint to actually use the license; it votes Thursday on Champy's request.

In May, Craig Caplan reported the new restaurant would be called Cut and Sew, in homage to the old button shop.

Champy said Waypoint, which primarily owns residential properties, got burned spending $1.7 million renovating the space for the Painted Burro, only to have that restaurant pull out. Champy said that after his company spent the money on renovating the two-story space, the owners of the Painted Burro wanted his company to kick in another $1 million.

"No one has been hurt more than the landlord" in the non-use of the license, Hanley said.

Hanley said his client has already have three meetings with nearby residents and business owners to explain the new restaurant plan; reaction was positive, he said.

Peter Gori, a restaurant broker working with Waypoint, said the new plan is "fully baked," but that Waypoint wants to dot every last i to ensure that this time, the deal really works and that the proposed restaurant operator will start spending money on finishing the two-story space the day the deal is wrapped up.

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Comments

When a business closes, the Licensing Board reclaims the liquor license (which is actually CIty property) and doesn't grant it to a new business unitl that business is actually open.

Much better than this nonsense of "Mother may I keep my license until I manage to open my business."

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The original restaurant hadn't even opened yet to be closed.

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their liquor license from somebody, right?

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If you are reading this let me take this opportunity to make a suggestion:

NAME IT SOMETHING ELSE!

That name is ridiculous. No one cares that the space used to be a craft store for cat ladies.

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That's both unkind and untrue. Windsor Button opened in 1936, and it was famous all over the country. Generations of women clothed their families from there. Tourists made special trips so they could get souvenir yarn. Windsor Button was the kind of Old Boston that can't be replaced. (And it definitely can't be replaced by yet another overpriced, mediocre restaurant.) Just because you don't care, doesn't mean the rest of us aren't still in mourning.

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I loved going to Windsor Button and I don't even sew. It was a fantastic store and this poster probably never had to opportunity to visit.

It's a real shame that today we're surrounded by nothing but Targets, Kohls and Walmarts, younger folks have no idea what they missed.

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Calm down cat ladies. I have been their next door neighbor for over 20 years. I know all about it. It was a wonderful yarn and craft store.

The point is that Cut & Sew as the name for another mediocre restaurant that blah blah blah...

is a pretty horrible name. How do you already know it's going to be overpriced and mediocre anyway? You must have read it in the new Farmer's Almanac after the weather predictions huh?

It would have to be a pretty amazing place though to be a success with a name like Cut & Sew.

Painted Burro was going to be the original tenant and pulled out as the story says after they had a dispute with the landlord kicking another million dollars.

How about Windsor Bistro as a name suggestion?

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"Cat ladies," that's the best you can do?

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On short notice yes, that's the best I can do.

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Too funny! It's the first time in my life I've been called a "cat lady".

But, I can take a joke and that was good.

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Morty Seinfeld would never eat there.

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probably trademarked.

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an "homage" to the previous business? The one that was thrown out by the landlord?

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n/t

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"No one has been hurt more than the landlord" in the non-use of the license, Hanley said.

If the landlord hadn't been a greedy bastard and kicked out Winsor Button he'd still be making money, not losing it, and thousands of crafty people in the city would still have their beloved store to patronize.

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To buy the space if they wanted it.

But how do you know that the landlord would still be making money with Windsor button? Do you know how much the landlord paid for the building? Do you know how much rent Windsor button was paying?

If you bought a 2 family for $500K and it came with a tenant that lived there for 79 years paying little rent, you would be raising the rent too. And if you didn't, you would be a complete fool on the fast track to bankruptcy.

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But then you also don't get to complain about the money you spend doing a rehab, and the money you're losing because you can't find someone to pay the higher rent you believe you deserve. He took a risk and lost - we're certainly not going to cry over it.

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If the landlord was dumb enough to spend $1.7 Million in renovations for a tenant who was able to back out of the deal, then he has nobody to blame but himself. He should sue his broker or lawyer for not protecting him

My issue is with people who think we live in an egalitarian society where a tenant has a right to rent a landlord subsidized commercial space forever. The button shop and the landlord are both businesses.

I don't know if the landlord was making money off Windsor button. It is possible he was, but it is also possible he wasn't. But the landlord has a right to charge whatever he wants or whatever the market will bear. That is capitalism. If you don't like it, move to Venezuela.

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My info could be waaaay out of date, but the scuttlebutt I heard five years ago the was that the landlord had no intention of selling it, but wanted to get a restaurant in to be able to command more rent, that area being the nouveau "Ladder District."

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He wanted to maximize profit on his investment? Let me guess, if you had a piece of prime property in downtown Boston, you'd lease that space to a photo development business at a discounted rate? A video rental store?

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He wanted to maximize profit on his investment? Let me guess, if you had a piece of prime property in downtown Boston, you'd lease that space to a photo development business at a discounted rate? A video rental store?

Put down the pearls.

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But it's meaningless here. You're calling the the landlord an evil, money-grubber for raising the rent on a button store. The demand for buttons clearly doesn't support a large store in the heart of a major city anymore. Sad, but I was equally sad when Blockbuster could no longer afford the rent at my local strip mall.

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You seem to think they only supplied buttons. Maybe you should know more about that which you disparage.

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Did I "disparage" that business? Please quote my disparaging remarks so I can see the error of my ways. I'm sure they did supply things other than buttons, but since the name of the store was the Windsor BUTTON shop, not the Windsor OTHER shop, I chose buttons to make my point. My point is, the business wasn't profitable enough to pay a higher rent, therefore, it either has to move, or close.

The market for buttons/yarn/thread/needles/thimbles isn't what it was 75 years ago, are you really going to argue that point?

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... because the market for hay isn't what it was 200 years ago?

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i can't even argue with that stupidity. Yes, you're right, you win.

Of course, does Haymarket still sell Hay and horse related gear? Was Windsor button still selling buttons and sewing related products? See the difference there genius?

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IMAGE(https://bostonpublicmarket.org/Boston%20Public%20Market%20Interior%20Directory.pdf)

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disparage in that you minimized how important it was to many people.

No, they may not have made enough to handle the 40% increase in rent the landlord was asking.

In the fiber/yarn industry, which covers approx 50% of what Windsor Button sold (maybe more), I would argue that when people have the $$, they are dropping a lot more $$ than you realize.

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Why don't they reopen somewhere near the City (or a T station) in a smaller, less expensive space?

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that in the articles previously linked.

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You're calling the the landlord an evil, money-grubber for raising the rent on a button store.

Where, pray tell, did I say that?

Still a straw man.

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But Windsor had a very long time to secure its future in the area. If not in that particular space, one of the many others that have been bought and sold over the past 79 years on that street. It chose not to.

The landlord is running a business just like Windsor. Windsor didn't give away its buttons. The landlord is not giving away its commercial space.

Both should be charging what the market will bear that allows them to make a profit and continue in business. To do otherwise is bad business practice.

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That the couple who owned Windsor Button in the end were not the original family of the Windsor Button company. It should also be noted that the landlords at the time of requesting the rent increase were not the original owners of the building.

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That a lease gets sold with the business. A lease also survives a building sale.

Does anyone actually know the specifics of the Windsor lease?

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Crafty people.....LOL.

Where's the link proving that Windsor Button closed because of a greedy landlord?

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Here's the link showing that Windsor Button closed because of a greedy landlord.

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This is a topic for another thread probably but it's true. What is happening to the rents in Downtown Crossing is criminal right now. These property owners are seeing dollar signs and it's textbook gentrification.

Currently spaces that were 25 to 50 per square foot a year or two ago are now literally 150 to 250 per square foot. The property owners don't care if the spaces remain empty for now. They figure they can wait. It's a tax write off anyway. No one except big chains like GNC, the Gap, or apparently many restaurant groups could afford to pay 20 to 30K a month.

So Bye Bye mom & pops and hello boring bland strip mall America.

It stinks.

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But aren't we coming up on the 10th anniversary of the Empty Storefront That Used to Be Barnes & Noble?

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Was the rent on B&N raised, is that why they moved out? Is that high rent what's keeping someone else from moving into the space?

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But if it's sitting vacant for 10 years, it's pretty clear the landlord is asking too much. If he's even still alive.

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He has had many many opportunities to lease that space. He is leaving it empty on purpose as a big FU to the city. He does not care at all if it stays empty. Once Millennium Tower is complete he'll make a sweetheart of a deal with a big box retailer I'm sure.

Are you interested in the space? Here's the listing:

http://www.showcase.com/b/commercial-real-estate/Robert-Posner/154705

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Amazon killed the bookstore.

Brick and Morter book stores are gone the way of Blockbuster. Some small independents may survive for a while, but big behemoth stores are unsustainable.

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B&N left because at the time they couldn't reach an agreement with Posner, the landlord. This was a long time ago when book stores were still making money.

Here's a little history:

http://www.archboston.org/community/showthread.php?t=1272

More:

http://www.designboston.org/2007/02/21/barnes-noble-to-house-filenes-bas...

Been going on since 2006 at least

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Yes, a non income producing unit can be offset on your taxes. But if you are a landlord with a mortgage and no income, you are going to lose that unit fast.

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Except people like Posner, Druker and more have no mortgages.

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It stinks.

You said something that I agree with.

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Why the hell are people allowed to write off their empty properties for years at a time, to the detriment of the city and the community??

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and holding a Madame Defarge-esque watch over this, hoping for bad things to happen.

STILL BITTER.

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I know we're all upset that this property isn't going to be a new CVS, bank or cellphone store, but we just have to deal with our disappointment and get on with our lives.

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Don't worry I'll be opening another location soon.

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A correction to the above story. My wife and I were the owners of the Windsor Button Shop and were tenants at 35 Temple Place. Mr.Champy and his partners were the owners of the building, thus our landlords. They had no ownership or interest in the store itself. We left due to the fact that Mr. Champy wished to bring in a tenant, i.e. a restaurant, at a higher rent. We bear no ill will toward Mr. Champy and his partners and fully understand that we live in a society where the market sets the price of doing business. We thought, however, that it was important to set the record straight as to the ownership of Windsor Button.

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