A key commercial building at the southern entrance to Adams Village has been sold to a new owner for $3.2 million. The two-story corner structure at 512 Gallivan Blvd. remains the village’s most prominent— and problematic— property and its sale could eventually clear the way for further enhancements to a business district that is suddenly booming with new restaurants and, with them, new traffic.
The building houses several longtime businesses— including the China Sky and Windy City restaurants.
But its second floor is unoccupied and in poor condition, and the overall look of the building— cluttered with old signage, a dated façade, and two hulking billboards on its roof— is widely regarded as an eyesore.
Peter and John Lydon, a father and son team, purchased the property from Arthur Murphy on Nov. 1, both parties have confirmed. The sale comes after the Lydons bought a collection of commercial and residential condominiums from Murphy for $1.3 million in July 2015.
John Lydon initiated the deal after reading a 2014 Dorchester Reporter story in which Murphy expressed his desire to sell the properties. Lydon’s father, a native of Ireland who started his own Braintree-based plumbing business in the 1980s, also owns properties in South Boston with his son.
John, who is 32, said that the process of buying 512 Gallivan Blvd. has been frustrating. It was delayed several times by disputes with Murphy, whom the Lydons eventually sued to execute the sale.
Complicating matters are easements and long-term lease agreements that are now entanglements for the Lydons to sort out.
“There are structures on the roof— the billboard and a cell phone communications tower. [Murphy] recently negotiated with Verizon to install another tower,” said the younger Lydon. “We don’t like the fact that they’re there and we’d like to get rid of the billboard in particular, but it’s going to take time,” he added.
Adams Corner is in the middle of an impressive growth in new businesses— most of them restaurants. The former Gerard’s Adams Corner just re-opened as The Landmark Public House after an extensive renovation of that property at the corner of Minot and Adams streets. Molinari’s— an Italian eatery— has opened up to strong reviews in the Adams Street block across from 512 Gallivan owned by the Lydons.
Lucy’s American Tavern at the Granite Avenue intersection is drawing strong crowds. And Sonny’s — another popular eatery and bar— has just been sold to new partners who intend to re-open next spring with a new name and look after a “gut re-hab.” Nearby, longtime attractions like Blasi’s, Greenhills and the iconic Eire Pub continue to draw in customers old and new.
Eventually, John Lydon says, he would prefer to take down the existing structure at his new property and develop a new, mixed-use building on the site. “The structure is so dilapidated that no matter what you want to do there it wouldn’t be cost-effective. It’s an inefficient structure and it’s laid out oddly,” he told the Reporter this week.
He is open to a mix of potential uses eventually— including a model he likes that might emulate the Boston Public Market near Government Center, housed in a building that includes both parking and retail uses. Ideally, I’d like to work with the other four or five landlords down here on how can we fix this parking problem,” he said. “If we work together we can do a lot more than if we do it separately.”
In the meantime, Lydon says the new team plans to install new windows and fix the building’s tar-and-gravel roof, which is leaking in chronic fashion. They also plan to remove old signage from defunct businesses and keep existing tenants like China Sky and Windy City who want to stay.
“We’re going to do the best we can,” he said.