Chase Bank Presents Branch Plans to Residents with Possible Outdoor Cafe Seating

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Chase Bank presented plans for 50 Salem Street to the North End / Waterfront Residents Association (NEWRA) on February 14th.

The location at 50 Salem Street was formerly occupied by Peet’s Coffee and Goody Glover‘s before that. Ownership changes and subsequent rent increases have been challenging, according to previous lease occupants.

Outdoor seating at the former Peet’s Coffee on Cross Street.

Chase Bank emphasized they would commit to a 10-year lease and bring stability at the site, given their financial wherewithal as part of global financial services firm, JP Morgan. Attorney Peter Lyons presented the proposal, accompanied by building owner Linear Retail representative Greg Drocz and Chase Bank representatives Brooke Cabrera.

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The bank still needs a change of use from a restaurant to a bank location, along with a possible ATM. Both of those are conditional, requiring zoning board of appeals approval. Chase has not yet filed with the Inspectional Services Department (ISD).

A 36A take-out license is still in effect from when the property was Peet’s Coffee. The bank is considering a sit-down area on the patio, which Chase would maintain, that would be for public use, similar to the benches and tables on the Greenway. The bank is garnering feedback on possible outdoor cafe-style seating options, such as self-serve coffee service with public WiFi. Inside, all space would be for bank use, and the “retail” would be outside where the public seating would be located. The Cross Street plaza area has been highly controversial since Charter Realty proposed a Starbucks Coffee at the North End “gateway” site across from the Greenway’s North End parks. 

Proponents said nothing would change in regards to the physical aspect of the building except signage. The concern of homeless individuals sleeping in ATM booths was addressed. Chase representatives said they lock down their ATMs in urban areas overnight if this becomes an issue.

Outdoor tables on Cross Street

J.P. Morgan Chase announced a large scale expansion in the New England area with over 60 new bank branches and 130 ATMs. A Chase branch opened in Dedham in December and a branch at Downtown Crossing opened this month.

NEWRA did not vote on the conditional use changes which have yet to be filed with city officials. North End / Waterfront Neighborhood Council (NEWNC) heard the same presentation and gave a vote of support for the plans.

Watch the NEWRA video above for the full discussion.

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3 COMMENTS

  1. Matt, the title of this article is misleading. I know it is not intentional, but I would ask that you consider a title change please. Chase will not have a café. In the NEWNC meeting, we probed diligently asking if they would:

    A. Have a large coffee counter
    B. Have a barista
    C. Have a café or plan to ever have a café
    D. Charge for coffee.

    The answer to all of the above was definitively “No.” The outdoor space with tables and chairs is a courtesy to customers and the community. They specifically mentioned that people could, “Get a sub at Monicas and eat outside in front of Chase.” Think of it as an extension of the seating provided by The Greenway that people use to have their lunch outdoors.

    They also said they would provide free wifi. When all is said and done, this is not a café. They will not serve coffee in exchange for $. They will provide free coffee in a Keurig or some coffee dispensing machine; something you might find at your local real estate agency, or insurance agency, or any other place where they are trying to make customers feel comfortable while they wait.

    Café is not the correct term, and it should not be used.

  2. Hi Tania, Thanks for your comment. You raise an important point regarding what will actually be at the site. It was my impression the proponents were considering several options and I tried to explain that in the post. As you know, there are no plans filed so it could be anything at this point.

    If you get coffee inside and bring it outside to sit, then “outdoor cafe seating” would seem to be an appropriate description. It is also allowable using the same license under which they said they intend to operate. We’ll certainly clarify once the plans are filed for the conditional use permits.

  3. Why did NEWNC vote on and approve a proposal that HAS NOT BEEN FILED WITH THE CITY? They just supported an anything you decide to submit plan! WTH?

Comments are closed.