New restaurant space proposed, nearby market construction progressing in Savin Hill

The Savin Hill market site on Friday morning. Jennifer Smith photo

The owners of the Savin Bar and Kitchen and the Flats on Savin are seeking to change the use of their ground floor commercial space to restaurant space, adding another eating establishment to an increasingly bustling Savin Hill junction.

Ken Osherow, Driscoll Docanto, and lawyer Charlie Tevnan briefed members at the Columbia-Savin Hill Civic Association monthly meeting on Monday. The prime space, just steps from the Savin Hill T station, is ripe for “another restaurant” Docanto said.

“We’re here to share the idea with you” he said. “We’re still fleshing out the concept but it’s going to be something very different from the Savin Bar and Kitchen now.”

Given the history of development around that corner -- the flats and SBK were approved with no parking associated with them -- civic members were concerned about potential traffic.

Amy Frigulietti with City Councillor Frank Baker’s office said they were advocating for traffic calming measures near the intersection, including crossings between the SBK property and the station, where people often dash across the street directly.

Docanto noted the proximity to the train and said it would be geared toward the surrounding neighborhood, especially those who would walk over to grab a bite. A chain is not what they have in mind, he said, and they plan to confer with residents to ensure that whatever goes in has a “local neighborhood feel.”

This location sits between a few food options, including Savin Bar and Kitchen, McKenna’s Cafe, and the new Honeycomb Cafe, all also owned by Osherow.

A Mexican food option was floated as a possible fit for the space, and Docanto said “we want to do something really 180 degrees different to what’s already being done.”

The team will come back to the Columbia-Savin Hill group at a planning meeting on June 12. They have no set date before the Zoning Board of Appeal.

James Baker, who is in the process of building a neighboring project at the corner of Savin Hill Avenue and Sydney Street, offered an update on his construction.

“We’re excited,” Baker said. “We’re going to try to keep the distraction from the construction to a minimum, I think it’s been pretty good so far.”

Nine condominiums are quickly rising from just behind the intersection, though the showpiece commercial building is slightly delayed due to an issue with the steel delivery, Baker said. He said Monday that the materials should arrive by late this week and steel posts were rising from the site on Friday morning.

“We’re shooting for a completion before year’s end,” Baker said, “as early as possible in the fall as can be… we think it’s going to be a real nice amenity for the neighborhood.”

They are beginning the process for figuring out the layout for the bottom floor, planned as a local market space, he said. The third floor will be occupied by a boutique fitness center. Both the second floor and some basement space are still open.

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