Finally, new prospect for business at old Savin Hill corner store

This building at 102-110 Savin Hill Ave. was once home to a busy variety store, but has been boarded up in recent years. Photo by Bill Forry

A vacant eyesore at the prominent intersection of Savin Hill Avenue and Sydney Street may finally get a new lease on life in the coming months. A convenience store magnate has entered into a long-term lease agreement with the building’s owner, Anthony Desmond, and intends to open for business as soon as renovations can be completed.

Jewel Saeed is an experienced convenience store operator who runs 19 locations in eastern Massachusetts. Saaed agreed to lease the building at 102-110 Savin Hill Avenue for 30 years in a deal inked on May 31. Saeed’s attorney, James A. Rudser, said that the deal is contingent on Desmond making repairs to the property, including a new roof.

“There’s no timetable yet,” Rudser told the Reporter. “My client would like to have it completed and ready to go tomorrow.”

Rudser said that he and Saeed plan to present their initial proposal for the re-use of the building to the Columbia-Savin Hill Civic Association’s planning committee on Aug. 14.

“They’ll have a chance to provide their background in the business,” he said. “My clients have been able to manage many other stores well, including other city locations. They want the neighbors to know what they intend to do. They’re enthusiastic, because this is a beautiful intersection.”

The Reporter was unable to reach Desmond this week.

State Rep. Marty Walsh, who lives nearby, said the neighborhood is eager to see a store like the old Savin Hill Variety re-open in the space. Everyone, he says, is especially eager to see the huge plywood planks on the building’s windows removed.

“You have a building there now that looks like it’s been abandoned,” Walsh said. “It’s been a blight on the community for many years, especially with all the investments that have been made there. It needs to be brought up to community standards.”

Councillor Frank Baker said he’s eager to speak to the new management about their plans for the site.

“I think people will be happy to see something go in there, but people want something more than just a typical convenience store with milk and bread and lottery. If they think the market is there for it, I hope they’ll do additional things with it,” said Baker, who suggested fresh produce and baked goods would be among the amenities he has in mind. “I think this neighborhood could support it.”

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