History of Fort Hill, Part 2 (2008). Mural by: Loray McDuffie, Taylor Saintable, Edwin Perez-Clancy, Christine O'Connell, Julia Andreasson, Jorge Benitez, Divah Payne, Lucy Saintcyr, Laua Dedonato, Gregg Bernstein.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Tidying up the details on 85 Centre St & Darryl Settles

There are just a few details of fact and hearsay to tidy up regarding Darryl Settles and 85 Centre Street, before concluding the inaugural spate of posts for this blog.

For the record, here is a transcription of the Boston Licensing Board notice for the 27 January 2010 hearing.

Telsa Hospitality Group, Inc.
d/b/a "Legend's on the Hill"
85 Centre Street
Roxbury, MA 02119

Pursuant to MGLA 138, 15A you are hereby notified to appear at the offices of the Boston Licensing Board.

William F. Arrigal, Jr.
Room 809A
--City Hall - Boston

Wednesday January 27, 2010 10:00 AM

Has applied for a C.V. 7-Day All Alc. Bev. License-To be exercised on the above premises-In whole of said building, including in one room on first floor with kitchen and restrooms in rear, main entrance on Centre Street and exit to patio areas in rear; dining room and storage in basement; office on second floor; and including an attached greenhouse outdoor seating are [sic] for fifty (50) patrons and adjacent outdoor patio for twenty-five (25) patrons on private property between the hours of 11:00 AM-midnight.

Darryl Settles, Manager

2:00 AM Closing Hour

Please contact Cynthia Fulton from this office if you have any questions

The Licensing Board can be reached at
One City Hall Square, Room 809, Boston, Massachusetts 02201 617-635-4170 Fax: 617-635-4742

In the event, Mr. Settles withdrew his application to the Licensing Board just before the 27 January Board meeting. His application did not come up.

Here are a few comments on this notice. The areas listed in the application are:

1. "one room on first floor with kitchen and restrooms in rear"
2. "dining room and storage in basement"
3. "office on second floor"
4. "attached greenhouse outdoor seating"
5. "patio area in rear" and "adjacent outdoor patio"

And all this was proposed for a building with a gross first floor area of 1254 sq ft. Now granted the current owner is hoping to add more square footage to this, for he has been excavating beneath the first floor—reportedly without getting city permits or notifying DigSafe.

As for area #3, there is no second floor. Judging by the brick construction and exterior conditions shown in the accompanying photograph, the current structure will never bear a second story.

Regarding area #5, this building really has no rear. Zooming all the way in on the City of Boston Assessing Department map, of the property shows a postage stamp's worth of land between the rear exit an the lot line.

The photograph on the right shows that surveyor stakes have recently been set on the back lot line. There are two visible, and they show just how tight the current building is to the back lot line. It's hard to say for certain, but it looks as though the new, below-grade, cinder block construction impinges over the lot line.

Regarding area #4, the attached greenhouse seating clearly must be meant for the adjacent, Dover Amendment parking lot at #79 Centre St.

Reported conversations with various neighbors

In separate conversations with various neighbors, Mr. Settles asserted that he was planning on a "hamburger joint," a "small cafe with a few tables," and that he was applying for the the CV 7-Day All Alc. License just so he'd be able to keep all his options open. But, he really wouldn't want to close any later than, say, midnight.

In conversation with another neighbor, Mr. Settles has since said that the excavation of the current owner has so damaged the structural integrity of the building that it cannot be saved for any purpose.

In discussions following this revelation, Mr. Settles has asserted that he would want nine apartments [sic!] above (presumably on the top two floors) with unspecified commercial space on the first floor. Hearing the gasps, he recalibrated to say that perhaps six apartments on top and an art gallery on the first floor (with provision for alcohol and live music) made more sense.

Mr. Settles also asserted that he would arrange with Roxbury Community College for valet parking.

The payoff for this post

Mr. Settles's main interest seems to be just to get his project started. Even though the existing building can not possibly support the business envisioned in the Licensing Board application, it will enough for Mr. Settles to commence renovations, only to discover—surprise!—that he has to raze the building, expand the footprint to include most of the 5158 sq ft on both lots, excavate a proper foundation and basement, and then build something to suit his obvious ambitions.

Start with a humble burger joint and end with the desired jazz-bar and restaurant seems to be the ad hoc strategy, with nods to residential development along the way.

The next posts will use the facts and observations laid out in these ten posts to argue the conclusion that Darryl Settles and his ideas are this idea is wrong for Centre Street.

An addendum: We've let our rhetoric carry us away. In poking around in the Registry of Deeds web site, we learned something we did not know: Mr. Settles was involved with the development of the condominiums at 147-151 Centre Street. So far as we know, these are a fine addition to the neighborhood.


  1. You really need to let it go.
    A . You sound like a psycho making stuff up to suit your twisted indulgent perspective...and
    B. He has already decided to drop the project, so again; let it go.

  2. Dear Anonymous, if Mr. Settles has decided to drop the project, then you know something I don't. If he has, it wouldn't be the first time he has dropped the project (see Iseut's posts here and here).

    Councillor Chuck Turner is facilitating a meeting between the immediate neighbors and Mr. Settles next week. I'll let you nkow how it goes.