22 thoughts on “Possible Main St. Project Has Restaurant Owners Worried About Future

  1. This is going to create deadlock traffic in the square and on Pleasant St. it will also effect the ability of the fire department to get where they need to go. We do not need another apartment building especially in the square.

  2. I’ve been to this restaurant many times, and have gotten to know Sara and her son Sep. I was impressed with their commitment to upgrading the restaurant equipment and decor, and I loved the friendly and personalized welcome every time I was. Plus I love the food.

    I’ve heard about the new development, and am concerned about its size and scale for this section of Main Street. But even more, I find this situation to be unacceptable — given the landlord’s urging the new owners to take a monthly lease … while also watching them sink thousands of dollars into upgrading the premises for their business.

    I don’t know what legal redress the new owners have, but it seems to me that they have been deceived. Dr. Sara came to the US as an investment in her family’s future well-being, and she has worked hard and spent a large sum to invest in this new business venture. It seems very unfair and just plain wrong to have this investment threatened by the deceptive behavior of the landlord.

    • Thank you, Chuck, for the support! It’s good to see that the community is behind the local businesses here.

  3. I think I am one of many people in Watertown who think this proposal is inappropriate for this space. Most of these apt bldgs build »retail» space that stays empty for ages (see Arsenal apt bldgs between Irving and Louise Sts.) because it’s never built at the right size for much. Either too big or too small. Developers promise all sorts of great ideas like a Trader Joe’s that never happen. The character of our Main St will not be improved by this building.

  4. We need to support local businesses—-and we need to continue to unite and voice our opinions when these development projects do not align with what Watertown citizens want and envision for our future. That being said, I’m alarmed by some of the plans that have still been approved by the town, even after many many people have shown up to town meetings to voice their concerns. We need more green space, more trees, less toxic Astro turf, better pedestrian access, and yes: more locally owned restaurants and businesses… as this town evolves rapidly, there seems to be a real imbalance in what people want …and what is implemented. Maybe with this petition will empower our voice…

    • Thanks for the support! I’m happy to hear that others in the community also agree. Much appreciated!

  5. Further development of that sort on Main St. (by an absentee concern no less) is a terrible idea. Aside from the unfortunate demise of a great business (Crown Cafe) the traffic in the square is at critical mass already even w out the future flow from further Arsenal st expansion and large condo projects such as at Trapelo and Common st., the former Cadillac dealership on Galen st et al. The word to describe this rapid buildup mentality is UNSUSTAINABLE.

    • I didn’t even realize that the company was based out of NYC, I looked them up further and not only is the company based in another state, it itself is a subsidiary of a Limited Partnership company whose agent is The Corporation Trust Company, a corporation that allows nearly 300,000 companies (including over half of all Fortune 500 companies, like Google, American Airlines, Apple, General Motors, Coca-Cola, J.P. Morgan Chase, Walmart, Verizon, videogame corporation Take-Two Interactive, about 430 of Deutsche Bank’s more than 2,000 subsidiary companies, and former President Trump and Secretary Clinton) to dodge taxes due to Delaware’s notoriously loose laws regarding “intangible assets”. All in all, Delaware costs other states nearly $10b in lost tax revenue through these loopholes. Not only this, but the state doesn’t require companies to disclose the names of officers and directors, allowing for a level of anonymity not seen in any other state.

      It’s all well and good that building the development would presumably employ and pay contractors in Watertown, but after it’s completed any income from the tenants of that address will be siphoned off to some faceless management company, not to mention the myriad negative impacts to businesses like Crown Cafe in the meantime, or the incredibly ugly and unattractive design decisions that they plan to make according to the architectural drawings. It’s hard for me to imagine this being a net benefit to Watertown, and I hope the people responsible for approving it can see past the short term financial rewards to see that.

      • Great job Joe! This is what is needed exposing these LLC and where it is going, definitely not back into the community. The future looks bright

  6. New residents and new developments have the potential to bring vitality and more activity so Main Street can once again be an active “Main Street”. Most new developments build big retail spaces that go empty because they seek high rents from corporate retail and restaurants. Instead we should routinely as part of the permitting and negotiation with developers require that they offer small low rent retail spaces to attract local entrepreneurs and local ownership. In this particular case, the developer should enter into a formal agreement with Crown Cafe to provide an equivalent space. I am glad to see the community rallying in support of keeping this amenity

  7. While I sympathize with the restaurant, the larger picture is important. This building is the size and height of the Residence on Summer Street also with no setback from the sidewalk. At 5 stories, it is out of scale with all the other buildings on the Square. Three stories stepping to four away from Main Street might work.

  8. I believe most Watertown residence would be willing to see smart development continue. Obviously size, scope, and community benefit are key factors motivating this acceptance. But it would be nice to see the rewards brought by these projects in real and observable form. I have to believe the tax revenues, permit fees and many other funds have been quite substantial over the course of the last couple years. So how come our roads, bridges and some parks look so horrible? Show us the money and perhaps you will see community support!

  9. I think there are two distinct stories here — 1) the potential financial harm to a small business owner who is making a good attempt at improving a breakfast place that was in steady decline, and 2) the large development planned on the site. As for the first issue, I hope she is made whole for her investment or that some accommodation can be made for her in the new space. As for the development itself, I say bring it on. Bring more residents into downtown to make it vibrant; ensure that the first floor commercial spaces are able to accommodate restaurants or shops; do anything to make our downtown less seedy. If I had my way, I’d also tear down that ugly brown glass monstrosity at 85 Main next to the fire station.

  10. These are such good comments. I’d like to add one more.

    It’s high time Watertown modified its zoning ordinance to require that new developments include not just a specific amount of “open space”, but also a specific amount of living green space.

    As Watertown builds out, it’s so important to include a requirement that every development contribute to the living green infrastructure in our community. Including actual living green infrastructure in the design of every new development will contribute mightily to the future livability of Watertown, by tempering the effects of increased mass and density on both the climate and the human spirit.

    It would be great too to see a front setback requirement for mixed-use buildings downtown, to allow coffee shops and restaurants to set out planters along with chairs and tables in season. Green infrastructure on the street side.

    Watertown should also be making sure that as part of its green infrastructure requirement, developers protect and preserve existing healthy trees to the greatest extent possible. We need protective tree canopy now, and will need even more of it down the road. It takes years for a new urban tree to provide the considerable infrastructural and community benefits of a healthy mature tree: the cooling, the air cleansing, the tempering of searing sun and pounding rain, the seasonal beauty and connection with the natural world.

    To emphasize: “open space” as defined in Watertown’s current zoning ordinance is not “green space.” Bizarrely, Watertown’s open space requirement allowed the upper-level private terraces of the new building approved just west of this proposed project to qualify as “open space”.

    A green space requirement should be added to Watertown’s zoning ordinance for new developments, and so that these trees and plants will actually thrive and contribute to our city long term, the requirement should include 1) design by a qualified landscape architect, 2) a landscape-architect-approved maintenance plan, and 3) insurance that this maintenance plan will be followed.

  11. Terrible idea! Shady and deceptive business practice as well. A project like this doesn’t just pop up out of nowhere! Traffic will be an absolute nightmare short-term and long-term which will make Watertown a less desirable place to live. Let’s make this area of Main St a historic district and fast!

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