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Monday, March 19, 2012

Neighbors Voice Support for Beer & Wine Store, Desire to See Magoun Square Improve!

In what started out as a neighborhood meeting about a proposed beer and wine store for the now vacant, former location of the Basil Tree turned into the beginnings of a resident/business initiative to reclaim Magoun Square! Numerous residents packed Dan Maher’s stained glass studio to hear about the proposed business, but to also voice their opinion on the current state of Magoun Square.

First things first…
When The Basil Tree left earlier this year, For Lease signs adorned the windows, matching other For Rent/Lease signs that have recently popped up on many Magoun Square businesses. The Owner of K2-Market who is in possession of a beer and wine license announced that he is in the process of buying and renovating the building in the hopes of housing a beer and wine store. Inspired by Ball Square Fine Wines and Liquors, the owners would like to host wine tastings and offer a vast selection of beers and wines for residents. The license is being considered for transference at the 6pm, March 19th Licensing Commission meeting held in the Tufts Administration Building (167 Holland Street).

The partners, assisted by their attorney, heard many neighborhood questions and concerns including how this would impact existing package stores and what hours they plan to operate under. Due to the license itself, the store is limited to selling beer and wine only. Surrounding stores have licenses that allow liquor, giving them a slight advantage. The expansion into high-end cigars is also a possibility, but neighborhood feedback would be a big factor in that decision according to the owners. Neighbors also suggested expanding the business hours, if possible, beyond the proposed 4pm close on Sundays.

The store will also feature gourmet cheeses and meats to compliment liquid purchases, but will be leaving all lottery options at the K-2 Market.

The timeline for purchase and renovation has been set as far out as 6 months. Conversations with contractors have already begun as the partners plan and design the look of the store. This is the most critical point that some neighbors are looking forward to seeing including the business plan and inventory selection.

Magoun Square United!
This meeting also intensified a desire to have businesses and residents united to bring serious change and focus to Magoun in an effort to improve economic conditions there. Citing issues such as parking, cleanliness, low rents and absentee landlords, resident and present business owners expressed their dismay at the current state of the square and have vowed to come together and fight for the changes they want for their neighborhood square!

Currently, the square is operating (roughly) around a 50% capacity, but signs in store windows indicate that the percentage could drop well below the half mark within the next few months. The square has been plagued with “fly by night” attempts that open for a few months and leave just as quickly as they open. Businesses, such as White Sport, Modelo’s Bakery, K2-Market, and Oriental have successfully rode the wave of uncertainty and remained open along with a handful of others. These stakeholders lay a strong foundation for a square that is looking for some entrepreneurs to round it out to an amazing business district that will serve the needs of the community and be an exciting destination point for visitors.

Efforts by this website will be made in the next few days to compile a contact list of residents, business owners, and patrons to begin the process of uniting and organizing the charge to renew Magoun Square! Do you have ideas and suggestions? Please feel free to contact me or Ward 5 Alderman Sean O’Donovan through our pages on the website.

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