Construction work to convert a long-abandoned comfort station in Uphams Corner into a hybrid bike shop and café will begin this summer, according to Historic Boston Inc. (HBI), the non-profit that is leading the effort. The new business that will eventually occupy the space will be called Sip n’ Spoke Bike Kitchen.
“From a design and construction standpoint, it’s just about getting documents in order,” explained Shaurya Batra, HBI’s director of real estate development. “Right now we have enough momentum, and there’s a good amount of energy surrounding the project.”
Batra says he’s “very confident” that construction will begin by July, pending approval of a few permits, finalization of contracting costs, and last stages of fundraising.
The Bike Kitchen will feature an integrated cafe and bicycle shop owned by Dorchester-based entrepreneur Noah de Amor, who founded the Bowdoin Bike School in 2015.
One major design change from previous plans involves the building’s front facade, which has been revised to reflect the structure’s original character. The “preservation version” of the mockup shows three smaller windows on the facade rather than the large, open bay window that was originally proposed.
Four private groups submitted bids to the city’s Department of Neighborhood Development to turn the 105-year-old site, which was once used as a way station for commuters waiting for trolleys in the bustling Uphams Corner business district and has been shuttered since 1977, into an updated building for modern uses.
“The change is due to purely preservation concerns. The idea is to keep the building as close to the way it was originally as possible,” said Batra, adding, “the building will have the same character, the same relationship with the sidewalk, and it will still be a very open space.”
The conversion has been anticipated for some four years now, but a lack of funding has repeatedly stalled any start-up work.