When some long-time businesses or buildings get torn down, it comes with some nostalgia or longing – such as with the Chelsea Clock building or the Soldiers’ Home water tower.
There was no such sentiment for the demolition of King Arthur’s Lounge, which finally came down late last week on Beacham Street – taken down by owner Greg Antonelli to make way for a new marijuana business.
Antonelli purchases the building a few years back and evicted the men who were planning to revive the strip club. After holding on to it for awhile, he pivoted and made a deal with Greenstar Herbals, a recreational marijuana dispensary.
Antonelli has permitted the project fully, and is the developer of the sleek new building. Greenstar will be the operator of the business, with Tom Morey as the president of that company.
It is being viewed in most every circle as a very positive end to a past most in Chelsea did not want to be associated with, including the shady strip club, many criminal assaults and even a murder.
City Manager Tom Ambrosino said it’s a positive step.
“I think it is a step in the right direction for the City,” he said. “The plan for that site is a good one and we look forward to it.”
The development at King Arthur’s comes at the same time that the City begins to go out to bid for its $12.5 million project to create a new roadway, pedestrian paths and bicycle tracks. That is primarily a safety precaution because it hasn’t been very safe to walk or bike on Beacham Street – and it is the only way for bicyclists to get into Boston from Chelsea, Eastie or Revere. That project goes out to bid this summer, and could start in the early fall.
Ambrosino said he doesn’t expect the uses there to change, but new development and infrastructure could improve the looks of the district. “It’s still going to be a food distribution area,” he said. “That an important aspect of the City, state and regional economy. There are a lot of good paying jobs there. We don’t want to transform it into anything different. Hopefully, this will all result in improved aesthetics.”