“Super Upbeat Downtown Update”

Here are some excerpts from Dave Brussat’s most recent column for the Projo, about doings and expected additions downtown.  (Much of it following from a conversation with Cornish’s Ari Heckman.)

• A fromagerie to be run by the owners of Farmstead Cheese, in Wayland Square, will open soon in the wine-tasting space at Eno Fine Wine and Spirits, on Westminster. Fine wine and cheese. Yum!

• A small — very small — restaurant will open soon on Washington between Gracie’s and Bravo Brasserie. A venture of Johanne Killeen and George Germon, who own Al Forno (in Corliss Landing), it will consist of 20 seats at a communal table. I have no idea how this will work, but one look at the building and you’ll understand the need for a minimalist concept — which they’ll carry off if anyone can.

• Heckman is negotiating to put a small bodega-esque grocery at Weybosset and Union, where the clothing shop New York New York was.

• Heckman still seeks a restaurant for the large space in the Peerless Building, at Westminster and Union. That would be a big boost for Downcity.

• The 10 spiffy shops clustered mainly from Eddy to Union on Westminster will hold a sidewalk sale on Saturday. A fine shopping block, but one block? And yet Cornish has almost no remaining leasable vacant ground-floor space. Civic leaders should try to promote more lively uses for space now taken up by important but soporific institutional tenants.

• This may be the biggest news: Cornish expects to unveil a new proposal for Grant’s Block, where a 450-car garage on Union flanked by condo buildings at Westminster and Weybosset has tanked because city officials don’t support a garage. Instead, a luxury condo building is now contemplated. It will be traditional, Heckman assured me, clad in fine building materials, with ornate classical detailing.

• I didn’t get it from him, but Heckman says he’s heard the following news: The One Ten Westminster hotel/condo project is not dead, but it has been scaled back. BlueChip Properties has sold the project to O’Connor Capital, of New York, owner of the Industrial Trust Building. The ritzy W hotel remains in play, but with no condos on upper floors. Another rumor says there may be a few condos. Either way, the building will not rise the fabled 40 stories.

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