The Zoning Board of Appeal today put off any action on a proposal to add apartments to a building at 6 Brooks St., off Bremen Street in East Boston, so that attorneys for the owner and the Delicious Market can work out a lease that will let the bodega stay.
Building owners Tom Walsh and Peter Ryan were seeking board permission to add three stories to the building and a rear extension to increase the number of apartments from three to six.
Their attorney, Jeff Drago, said the owners really want to keep Hector Martinez's market stay, to the point they are willing to offer him rent at roughly half the market rate. Drago said his clients had offered a three-year lease with a possible two-year extension. "We love having Hector in the building, we want him to remain," Walsh said.
But Martinez's attorney, Tony Blaize, said the most recent formal offering was for just a one-year lease. Although the two sides negotiated that up to three years, Blaize said Martinez would prefer a five-year lease with extension clauses; that anything less would not make financial sense.
Nearby residents said they were worried about losing Delicious Market, saying that not only does Martinez stock products from their home countries, he often goes well beyond, for example, by delivering groceries to residents with mobility issues. Some also expressed concern about parking - the building would have none.
Drago said his clients would be more than happy to try to work out a five-year lease; and at one point in the meeting it seemed like the two sides were using the session to negotiate that. Walsh pointed to the building's location, like a 15-second walk from the Airport Blue Line stop, as proof new tenants would not overload the area.
Board member Hansy Better Barraza, however, called for a month delay in a vote on the required variances. She said one of her guiding tenets as a zoning-board member is "development without displacement" and that she was not yet satisfied this particular building could guarantee that.
Other members agreed and the board deferred any action until a meeting on Oct. 17.