By Seth Daniel
Two highly-anticipated high-end restaurant proposals got the thumbs up from the Zoning Board of Appeals on Wednesday night, April 13, for the Everett Avenue Urban Renewal District.
The first approval came for the well-established Fusion Foods, which has been in the downtown district for several years under the ownership of Melissa Vo.
Vo is planning to move the business to the small building near the railroad tracks on Everett Avenue, a building which has housed a florist for several years.
The ZBA voted 3-0 for the plan, and Vo said they planned to open in the coming months at the new location.
Second was the brand new venture from Chelsea resident Mark Nadow and Eastie native and chef Mike Sheridan – called Chelsea Station Restaurant. The restaurant concept would have a bar area and about a 120 seat restaurant at 105 Everett Ave. – which is a former bank, and before that, a former fire station.
“This is going to be the first of its kind here,” said Attorney John Dodge. “This is going to be an economic driver for the City. It’s going to be on par with the restaurants you might see on Newbury Street in Boston. It could be like a Stephanie’s on Newbury Street…It’s really going to be a new experience in Chelsea unlike anything we’ve seen in the past.”
The owners said they planned to accentuate the old firehouse aesthetic in their design, and have several features in the design that remind one of things in an old firehouse. They also plan to expose the original brick in the station, which is one of the few buildings to have survived the two great fires.
The restaurant will provide 17 parking spaces, but has ample spaces that can be used after 5 p.m. in the Simboli properties across the street. One hitch in the process was there wasn’t an official letter saying those could be used. The board did vote 3-0 for the proposal provided that a letter is submitted.
- Dave Peach of the Broadway Mini-Mall presented to the ZBA his plan for 15 units of housing above his building at 307 Broadway, also adding a fourth story to the old Masonic Building and Theatre. There are only four parking spots proposed, but the project is one in a spate of proposals that would seek to appeal to the non-car demographic. Peach and his attorney, Jay Duca, indicated they expected to have one-bedrooms at $1,100 and two-bedrooms at $1,500. The proposal moves to the Planning Board for review and will come back to the ZBA on May 12.
- City Councillor Roy Avellaneda appeared before the ZBA with his proposal to operate a coffee shop in Cary Square – a venture called Pan Y Cafe. The shop is currently the Chelsea City Cafe and Avellaneda would take it over from current owner, Chuck Finley.
“This will be a great project,” said Councillor Luis Tejada. “My whole life has been in that little area. It always seems to me it could be a little Davis Square…I think this will improve the area.”
- Another proposal by the owners of the commercial/residential building that houses Heller’s Liquors at 413 Broadway was less cut-and-dry. The owners proposed to make eight large units into 16 smaller units. ZBA members found several holes in the plan, including parking plans. The matter goes to the Planning Board and then back to the ZBA on May 12.
- David Therrien, 20 High St., got approval for a driveway.
- Alma Villanueva got permission to change the use at 84 Washington Ave. to open a grocery/meat market.
- TJL Series LLC (Dunkin Donuts) got permission to install projecting lights on their new signs at the 232 Everett Ave. store.