A real estate group refused to renew the lease for Lasker’s Convenience store on Appleton Street in the South End, and they are hoping to add a new restaurant or deli operation to the space.
Lasker’s, in one form or another, has occupied the corner at 67 Appleton St. for several decades, but the new ownership said the operators were trying to do things they felt weren’t good for the neighborhood. After purchasing the property in July for $2 million, according to property transfer records, Hoopoe Advisors decided to terminate the Lasker’s lease recently and are very close to having what they felt was a better quality tenant on the ground floor.
“They essentially wanted to open a smoke shop and we didn’t want a smoke shop in the building,” said Attorney Anthony Rossi, who is working on the project with Tariq Siyam, of Hoopoe. “They were doing a lot of Juul and vaping and they wanted to build out that kind of business. We weren’t going to allow vaping in our properties. It’s been Lasker’s for 20 years. It wasn’t the same and we decided not to renew their lease.”
Rossi said they are already in discussions to sign an upgraded tenant.
There is a good possibility, he said, that a South End operator with two existing restaurants could sign on to open a third concept in the Lasker’s space.
“We’re already talking to a restaurateur that wants to lease that space,” he said. “It would be high-end Mediterranean small-plate food offerings. The operator is already in the South End and has operations here. We’re working on a letter of intent now…The people we’re talking to have great reputations.”
Another options is a deli with cold cuts, panini sandwiches and a high-end convenience store.
Already, they have renovated the living units above the commercial space, said Rossi. They put on a new roof with copper flashings, new lighting, new front doors and are taking down the awning.
“The red awning is all coming out,” he said. “We want it to look consistent and more in line with the community.”
All of the units now have central air, so this spring they will take out the air conditioner as well from the window.
He said Hoopoe has been a great company for him to partner with, and have been interested in going the extra mile on this and other projects.
“Our group buys close to $20 million worth of real estate in Boston each year,” he said. “We concentrate on getting buildings we believe could be nicer. It’s a great opportunity on Appleton, and we wanted to get a better use than a smoke shop.”
•Meanwhile, Hoopoe is also in the process of undertaking a similar renovation at 603 Massachusetts Ave. in the South End.
The building has been gutted and they have closed the old convenience store that was once there.
The idea is to also put a restaurant there, and they have already completely renovated the living units and added a sprinkler system.