A new all-weather dining area and several new restaurants are coming to Brookline, potentially as soon as March, according to the real estate agent representing the property.
The building, which will house the new dining area and restaurants, sits directly in front of the St. Mary’s Street T stop, right near the corner of St. Mary’s Street and Beacon Street. The dining area will consist of a heated and enclosed glass pavilion-type structure that will provide a place to sit through all four seasons.
According to the property listing on Crexi.com, a commercial real estate website, the pavilion will have a retractable sunroof in order to control how much light enters the space. It will extend from the storefronts to the sidewalk, a distance of 20 feet.
According to the listing, the property is 16,000 square feet, and made up of seven units, with three of those units currently available.
Roy Papalia, the property’s real estate agent, said this kind of depth in front of a building is rare in Boston. He added that the dining area will also be on the sunny side of Beacon St., making it an ideal location for restaurants.
According to the plans for the property, the new restaurants accompanying the dining area will be Baby Cafe, KYU Ramen which is a New York-based ramen restaurant and Kyoto Matcha, a Japanese dessert and drink shop.
The property previously contained O’Leary’s Irish Pub and Restaurant, a Dunkin’ Donuts and Sichuan Gourmet, which, according to residents, were forced to close when the COVID-19 pandemic swept the globe. The buildings have remained empty since then, boarded up as they awaited new residents.
“They were all viable businesses until COVID,” said Frank Farrell, a retired Brookline resident. “They just couldn’t make it, so they shut down.”
Farrell said only a couple of buildings on Beacon St. today are owned by the residents or businesses that occupy them, since most are now owned by companies and rented out.
Farrell described how O’Leary’s had served the Brookline area for 28 years before closing in June 2020. He said he hopes the next businesses that inhabit the space will stay there for a longer time than the “two or three years” of the past businesses.
Some residents have said they will welcome the change and that it will provide some new energy for the area, which has been relatively quiet since the restaurants’ closure.
“It’ll be nice when there’s some progress,” said Kevin Lovett, a store manager for the Economy True Value hardware store that neighbors the property. “It’s been … kind of quiet with nothing else on the block.”
The city of Brookline has also been involved in the plans, according to Papalia, with the goal of making the outside seating welcoming and open to the public.
But some concerns remain, primarily over the longevity of the new restaurants.
“If they can do this right, it would be good. The question is, will they?” said Farrell. “What’s the sustainability? How long are they gonna last?”
Construction on the pavilion structure is expected to be completed by the middle of March, according to Papalia, with construction of the restaurants taking place at the same time.