Specialty food store to anchor ground level
Dorchester’s newest mixed-use development will celebrate its new name and official groundbreaking next Monday in a ceremony that will include Governor Charlie Baker and Mayor Marty Walsh. The event will serve as a “brand launch” for the Ashmont TOD2 project, which will rise from what was once the Ashmont Tire building on Dorchester Avenue.
This week, the development team at Trinity Financial, Inc. confirmed that American Provisions— a specialty food store that has become a popular South Boston destination— will be the anchor commercial tenant in the building. The store, which focuses on locally produced, high-quality “farm to table” foods, beers and wines, is expected to open when the building is completed in about a year.
“We’re making good on our commitment to the neighborhood in bringing a diverse retail mix,” said Mathieu Zahler, the senior project manager for Trinity. “We heard loud and clear that the neighborhood wanted a specialty food use. We talked about neighborhood retail— fitness, a dry cleaner, and specialty foods— things that would add value and amenities to the larger community.”
The American Provisions footprint would occupy roughly half of the 5,598 square feet of commercial space on the ground floor of the new six-story building at 1961-1981 Dorchester Ave. The remaining retail space is not yet under agreement.
Matt Thayer, who owns American Provisions with his partner Andy Fadous, said that the Dorchester space will be slightly larger than their existing South Boston store, which opened five years ago. The two owners have strong connections to Dorchester: Fadous and his wife live in Neponset. Thayer and his wife lived in Dorchester and now live in Milton.
Thayer says that they have been approached to look at other Boston neighborhoods for a second location, but have been committed to finding an appropriate space in Dorchester first.
“We love the community that’s here and we couldn’t be more excited,” said Thayer. “We’ve been pretty much committed to coming to Dorchester or nothing,” as far as expansion, he said. “The more we looked at [the Ashmont location], the more excited we get.”
American Provisions specializes in prepared meals and has seen an increase in its catering business over the years in South Boston. The additional space on Dorchester Avenue will allow for a full kitchen, Thayer said.
The 83 units of housing on the upper floors will include a mix of rental units and condos, which Trinity will begin actively marketing next week. Zahler says that a retail sales office dedicated to the project will open Monday in a storefront in the Carruth building at 1908 Dorchester Ave.
The Ashmont Tire “transit-oriented” project is a $40 million investment by a company with a track record of revitalizing the surrounding neighborhood. Owned by local men Jim Keefe and Patrick Lee, the project is partly modeled on the Carruth building across the street, which Trinity built on what was once a forlorn MBTA parking lot. The second-phase of the build out— on the Ashmont Tire site— won key approvals from the city and acquired a key state-issued tax exempt bond to help secure its financing last year.
According to the BRA, the housing will include a mix of studio, one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments. The top floor will house 17 loft style units, and a small 1,400 square foot roof deck will be available to residents.
Monday’s noontime groundbreaking will include an announcement about the name of the building and remarks from the governor, mayor, and other leaders. The wood-framed building will begin rising from the foundation by late summer, according to Zahler, with a targeted July 2017 delivery date.