Roslindale Village Main Street Welcomes Trillium Garden at the Substation 

Roslindale Village Main Street Welcomes Trillium Garden at the Substation 

With great excitement Roslindale Village Main Street announces that Trillium Brewing Company plans to open an indoor winter beer garden in the historic Roslindale Substation Building before the end of the year. Trillium, a national star among New England’s flourishing micro-breweries, will reformulate the highly successful beer garden it operated on the Rose Kennedy Greenway in an indoor venue in the iconic Substation, located at 4228 Washington Street, across from Adams Park.

Trillium’s winter tenancy caps RVMS’s 16-year effort to reactivate the long-vacant main floor of the Substation, which is notable for its grand open space and historic, industrial aesthetic. The Substation underwent a $4.8 million renovation conceived and undertaken by Roslindale Village Main Street, Historic Boston Inc., and Peregrine Group, LLC of Rumford, RI. Trillium will join Craft Beer Cellar Roslindale, a retail craft brew business, that opened earlier this year on the ground floor.

RVMS identified and sought out Trillium because of its national reputation, loyal following, and successful track record of working in partnership with food, arts, and cultural pop-up events in non-traditional spaces. “Beer aficionados will have the unique opportunity to drink Trillium’s award-winning beer in the Substation’s awe-inspiring space, with its 34 foot ceilings, 18-foot copper clad doors, 250-ton capacity gantry crane, and six two-story windows,” said Alia Hamada Forrest, RVMS’s Executive Director. “Where Trillium goes, its fans follow. I’m eager to welcome the newcomers that will discover Roslindale’s existing mix of vibrant restaurants and retail options, and hope that these types of creative partnerships continue to spark across all of Boston Main Street districts. We know when you visit — you will want to return.”

Trillium Garden at the Substation is scheduled to operate five days a week, starting in late November/early December 2017 and running through March 2018. RVMS and other local organizations plan to operate arts and cultural pop-ups, including local music, art, and restaurant collaborations on days Trillium will be closed and, when complementary, during times the beer garden is open.    

RVMS, along with the rest of the development team, continues to look for a long-term tenant.

Built in 1911, the Substation functioned as part of the Boston Elevated Railway Company’s then revolutionary alternating electric current power system. Designed by architect Robert Peabody of Peabody and Stearns with Stone and Webster Engineering Corporation, the Substation is one of six nearly identical converter substations built in and around Boston at that time. It has been vacant since the 1970s. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Prellwitz Chilinski Associates of Cambridge was the architect for the renovation.


Substation Tenant Update

Substation Tenant Update


It is with disappointment that we share the news that restaurateur Chris Douglass no longer plans to open his Third Rail restaurant concept in the Roslindale Substation.

While we are sorry that our partnership with Chris comes to an end, we are confident that the Roslindale Substation — with its unique interior space, historic character, and prominent location in vibrant Roslindale Village — will appeal to another commercial concept, including restaurants and microbreweries. Roslindale Village Main Street, Historic Boston Inc., and Peregrine Group, LLC are moving aggressively to secure a new tenant that fits best within the business district. In the meantime, the restored interior space of the Substation will host community pop-up events and temporary uses. The Roslindale community can already look forward to a Halloween Film Series in the Substation in October. Several pop-up concepts (including art and holiday-themed) are in the works as well.

The long road to the Roslindale Substation’s redevelopment is one of the great success stories of this neighborhood. The building, which was vacant since 1971, has been restored in great detail, and mechanically upgraded for commercial uses in accordance with federal and state standards. The corner of Cummins Highway and Washington Street is substantially transformed by a handsome structure, and 43 new housing units, all of which enhance the architectural fabric and vibrancy of Roslindale’s commercial and civic center. Once the main floor interior is built out for a tenant, a large glass window will be installed within the majestic opening on the front facade facing Adams Park, completing the historic rehabilitation. To learn more about the project’s redevelopment click here.

Craft Beer Cellar continues to operate in the ground level of the Substation, offering a wide selection of over 500 types of beer, cider and sake to Roslindale. We encourage our fellow residents to patronize this fantastic business, proudly owned and managed by a Roslindale resident.  

Tenant inquiries and ideas may be directed to


Roslindale Village Main Street
Historic Boston, Inc.
Peregrine Group, LLC

Jan. 14, 2017: Grand Opening of the Craft Beer Cellar

The Redevelopment of the Substation has been a project of Roslindale Village Main Street (RVMS) for 14 years, and had efforts before that.  On Saturday, January 14th, we were able to celebrate the Grand Opening of the Craft Beer Cellar!

At the Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting, RVMS Executive Director Alia Hamada Forrest gave some major shout-outs to the past Presidents and Directors of RVMS who’ve been involved with Substation Redevelopment and for whom it has been a labor of love. This Substation has not been occupied in over 40 years and to bring it back to life it has taken years of brainstorming, community meetings, soliciting ideas, evaluating pro formas, searching out developers and potential businesses, connecting with the City, the MBTA, and the Rozzie community. Thank you to former and current RVMS Presidents for their time and leadership:

Joe Portelecki
Vinny Marino
Jim Nichols
Glenn Williams 
Charlie McCarthy
Carter Wilkie
Steve Gag
Jennifer Madar
Hilary Sullivan
Anthony Giordano

Former Executive Directors:

Kate Horrigan
Tom Litke
Janice Williams
Jodi Burr
Stephanie Cave
Christina DiLisio

Additionally, the RVMS Substation Committee Co-Chairs Adam Rogoff and Liz Sherva, deserve a lot of credit for the Substation redevelopment as it is today.  

Thanks to Substation Committee volunteers who committed an enormous about of time over the past decade and half on the committee or otherwise:

Wayne Beitler
Mike Feloney
Mark Rukavina
Steve Gag
Jake Maliel
Vinny Marino
Carter Wilkie

The Substation redevelopment is a great partnership between Historic Boston Incorporated (HBI), Peregrine Group, and Chris Douglass

We’d like to thank the George B. Henderson Foundation for a grant that supplied significant of the funding for the beautiful windows you see today.

We’d specifically like to thank Mayor Walsh who met our group privately at Chris Douglass’ Tavalo even before he’d taken office to hear about the project and its obstacles.  He committed then to making it a priority for Roslindale and soon after taking office advanced out efforts tremendously.

Thank you to Councilor Tim McCarthy and Lee Blasi for all your help connecting Peregrine Group to all the right permits and licensing, helping with community meetings, and your overall support to make Roslindale a vibrant neighborhood. 

RVMS Substation Committee Co-Chair Liz Sherva showed the building to a lot of people – trying to find the right non-profits or businesses that would work for Roslindale.  A few years ago we gave Bryan Reeves a tour of the lower level.  He came with a good business concept that would complement Chris Douglass’ restaurant, and on that first tour Bryan kept saying, “Wow, this place is amazing.”  A big welcome to the neighborhood to Bryan Reeves, who will be running the Craft Beer Cellar right downstairs. Welcome to Rozzie! 

More articles and photos about the Grand Opening of the Craft Beer Cellar can be found here:

Interior Crane Move and Community Meeting regarding Liquor License for Chris Douglass Restaurant

A massive ceiling crane in the historic, pre-MBTA power Substation in Roslindale that served Boston’s transit system was moved into position at noon on June 22, 2016, an impressive industrial relic that will grace the restaurant now being designed for the historic space.

As a handful of representatives of the three partner organizations that are bringing the 1911 Roslindale Substation back to life with modern uses, Richard Stokes, field operative for crane specialists Konecranes, pulled heavy chains and turned a -30-inch steel wheel high on the ceiling. 

The box crane – perpendicular sets of large steel I-beams, pulleys, cables, and wheels rolling along tracks – moved several feet in two directions, so that it will be visible through the building’s restored cathedral windows as well as to restaurant patrons.

Additionally, on Wednesday, June 29th at 6:30 pm at the BCYF Roslindale Community Center, there will be a Community Meeting about the proposed liquor license for Chris Douglass’s restaurant slated for the main floor of the Substation. 

Construction Continues on the Substation Building and Parkside on Adams

By now you’ve probably seen the great progress with Parkside on Adams, the 43-unit housing  building that hugs the Substation. The building, now open and leasing up, is already adding vitality to the Village. Though exterior construction to the Substation was delayed this year by difficulties in getting a large capacity gas line installed in the street, full construction of the Substation portion of the project is very much moving forward. Some infrastructure work has been completed inside the building. Restaurateur Chris Douglass and his team have been at work on the restaurant design and development and Bryan Reeves is moving along with his plans for Craft Beer Cellar. Expect major exterior work in the Spring, including the opening of the bricked-in and plywood-covered windows and masonry repair work. 

Preservation Month Hard Hat Tour Of the Roslindale Substation

In honor of Preservation Month, RVMS, Historic Boston Inc., and Peregrine Group will be leading a hard hat tour of the Roslindale Substation on Wednesday, May 20th, from 3:00 to 4:00 pm. Join us to take a walk through history.

Built in 1911 for the Boston Elevated Railway Company, the Roslindale Substation was an electrical power conversion and transmission station. Designed in the Neo-Classical Revival style by Stone and Webster Engineering Company and architect Robert S. Peabody, the Substation converted alternating electric current (AC) transmitted from a South Boston Power Station via underground cables into direct current (DC) for use by local trolley cars. Revolutionary technology for the day, this system generated and distributed power at lower costs. 
Tour will be on an active construction site – please dress accordingly.

Roslindale Substation Building awarded Henderson Foundation Grant

The Roslindale Village Substation Building at the corner of Cummins Highway and Washington Street has been awarded $40,000 from the George B. Henderson Foundation in order to restore a prominent feature of the building – the windows, including the large ones which face out onto Washington Street.

The Substation, which represents the last major project in the 30 year revitalization of Roslindale Village, will be rehabilitated into a restaurant on the main level and office space or other commercial use on the lower level.  All rehabilitation work will adhere to the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation and has been approved by the Massachusetts Historical Commission (State Historic Preservation Office) and the National Park Service.

In addition to the restoration of the windows, other restoration work will occur. Masonry will be repointed to match the original mortar in strength, composition, color, and texture.  Any broken or cracked bricks will be replaced in-kind or repaired to match the original in size, color, and texture.  Existing concrete elements will be repaired to match the original in size, color, and texture.  The large copper clad wooden doors and door framing will be restored.  The doors will be fixed in an open position with a large glass wall placed within the opening, allowing occupants to see out and pedestrians to see into the Substation.

The Substation has been vacant since 1971 and has seen minimal upkeep. Thanks to grant funds from the Henderson Foundation, whose mission is “solely devoted to the enhancement of the physical appearance of the City of Boston and immensely contributes to an effort of preserving the local cultural and historic values”, the Substation Building will again be the proud building it once was.

The Henderson Foundation has awarded grants to many other notable restoration projects in the City of Boston and Roslindale Village is honored to now be counted among them. Some notable Henderson Foundation restoration projects include lighting the Chinatown gateway (2002), the Mallard Family Sculpture (a.k.a. “Make Way for Ducklings”) in the Boston Public Gardens (1998), and the casting of the “Bacchante” statue at the Copley Branch of the Boston Public Library (1993). You can view a full list of their projects, including more selected projects of note, at .

Construction Slated for Portion of Substation Redevelopment Project

The Substation Redevelopment project is moving forward as RVMS and our partners Historic Boston Inc. (HBI) and Peregrine Group have been putting some of the final pieces of the plan into place.

Construction of the residential units portion of the project is slated to start the week of July 28th, and with that, the Higgins Funeral Home (which abuts the substation building) will be slowly taken down. Folks may notice the first signs of this process occurring with construction fencing going up and some light mobilization of equipment at the site occurring.

The Higgins Funeral Home parking lot has been officially closed to the public for some time now and will continue to be closed during construction.

For public parking in Roslindale Village, please use the Taft Hill Municipal Parking lot (located behind the Greater Roslindale Medical & Dental Center, just off of South Street) or park all day long at the MBTA Commuter Rail lot off of Roberts Street for just $4.

Stay tuned for more updates and detailed timelines as we approach next week. The RVMS e-newsletter is a great source of up-to-date information as well as our webpage dedicated to the Substation Redevelopment project.

Final Phase of Substation Building Development Plans in Place

Over the winter, RVMS and its partners Peregrine Group and Historic Boston, Inc. have continued to meet regularly to put in place some of the final pieces of the substation development project. We’ve met with the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) as well as Mayor Walsh to provide helpful information on the project and have further identified and developed a use for the substation building portion of the project. Peregrine Group and restaurateur, Chris Douglass (Ashmont Grill and Tavolo Restaurant),  are currently in advanced negotiations for a restaurant concept on the main floor of the substation building while RVMS and other community partners are working to find a use for the ground floor. 

Construction on the residential units is slated to begin in June of 2014 with restoration and construction on the substation building starting soon there-after.

Stay tuned to this webpage for updates on construction and other community issues of note.  You can also get in touch with the office at or at (617) 327 4065 during regular business hours.