New-look market to open on Dot Ave. in coming months

The new 38-unit building at East Cottage Street and Dorchester Avenue has most of its residential units occupied now but work on the two retail spaces on the ground floor has been tied up by slow permitting approvals. The restored Dorchester Market, which occupied the site previously in a one-story retail building, is about 90 days out from a re-opening.

Dorchester Market is expected to re-open within the next three months in a new space at the corner of East Cottage Street and Dorchester Avenue, according to the property owner, Adam Sarbaugh, who briefed members of the Columbia-Savin Hill Civic Association (CSHCA) Planning Committee last week.

The store will occupy part of the ground floor of a new five-story building that includes 38 residential units on the floors above.

“We have the walk-in freezers, the coolers, and all the equipment for the new Dorchester Market being kept and ready in our other space,” said Sarbaugh. “They are plumbing and hooking up refrigerators, and we’re waiting on our sprinkler certificate inspection from the Fire Department. We should be about 90 days out from when the market can be opened back up, hopefully.”

The market did business from a one-story retail building on the site for decades and was operated by Peter McGee, who will run the new market as well.

Long known for its high-quality butcher shop, the upgraded store will also sell beer and wine with a license secured last year with community support. McGee and Sarbaugh have said they envision a more modern market along the lines of those in the Back Bay and the Beacon Hill neighborhood.

The Dorchester Market storefront trumpets ‘Hooray, We Are Opening Soon.’ Seth Daniel photos

Sarbaugh says the building’s residential units are now occupied, with the first residents having moved in beginning last September. There is no tenant in place yet for a second ground-level retail space, he said, adding that he’s being selective about the space and focusing on getting the market open first, and then putting full effort behind filling the other space.

“It’s finding the right person and business that both enhances the neighborhood, and complements the Banshee Pub right there,” he said, “something unique and something that has a local neighborhood feel. I’m searching for that and want to make the right choice here rather than have it be an Excel spreadsheet decision.”

Sarbaugh also emphasized that some of the delays have not been of their making, reminding everyone that the project was conceived as early as 2018, and construction was halted for a while during the pandemic – starting back up in 2022. In that time, he said, there was a lot of transition within the city.

“Through some ISD transitions and people leaving the city, our commercial space permit was not fully issued until Jan. 18,” he noted. “We did as much on the retail spaces as we could up to that point.”

• A proposal to replace a one-story commercial property at 1195-1199 Dorchester Ave. with a three-story building housing retail and office space was discussed briefly at the planning committee’s meeting. An abutters’ meeting on the topic was set for Feb. 21. The current building, owned by Kendall Van Tran of Canton, is now occupied by a nail supply business. It is located next to the new Dot Block development.

• A plan by James Christopher to demolish a two-family duplex-style home at 33 Crescent Ave. and replace it with a new three-story, nine-unit building with six parking spaces was also discussed. The plan includes seven one-bedroom units, and two two-bedroom units, all ranging from 547 to 955 square feet.

Planning committee chairperson Kristine Hoag noted that some who attended an abutters meeting held earlier this month raised concerns about the size of the project given that it is on a 4,900-square-foot two-family duplex lot.

“There were a fair number of suggestions that they try to go smaller because this is a two-family built in 1924,” said Hoag.

Don Walsh said the Crescent Avenue plan and a similar proposal on Pearl Street, are changing the character of the area. “Going from two to nine units is outrageous,” he said. “It’s literally turning into South Boston…We need to stop it before it becomes rampant. There’s already too many of these going on.”

Added Hoag: “I’m hopeful this project, when it come before us, will be a different project.”

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