Adding to Community:Developer: St Catherine’s Property Has Great Potential in Retail, Other Uses

March 30, 2018
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The owner of the former St. Catherine’s Church property, Michael Rauseo, said this week that the Dollar Tree coming in on the ground floor will add needed activity to the area, and that he’s considering many proposals for the upper floor, but that a restaurant use probably has the strongest potential.

Work continues this week on the Dollar Tree store in the old St. Catherine’s Church. Owner Michael Rauseo said the church campus has great potential, and that several high-quality restaurant groups are looking at the first-floor space as well.

All told, he said the campus property – part of which was already developed a few years ago into the NEW Health Center – will add great additional use when the Bunker Hill Housing development is re-developed in the future.

“This will also be a positive when the development (Bunker Hill Housing Development) is rehabilitated, whether it’s Corcoran or somebody else,” he said. “It’s an amenity. This will be a good commercial use.”

The plans for St. Catherine’s have been long-standing since around 2014 when the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) approved the plans with the support of a huge swath of the community. However, nothing really got off the ground until last September when electrical work and fire suppression system work started. Last December, a building permit was issued, and then last week it was announced that a Dollar Tree retail store would be the ground-floor tenant.

Rauseo said he was very happy to have Dollar Tree as a tenant and feels it’s exactly what the immediate neighborhood needs.

“This particular store will have a lot of groceries,” he said. “If you live in that section of Charlestown, the only opportunity to buy groceries is Whole Foods, and it’s about a mile away. They also have a department store, which is exactly what is needed. It will provide some excitement and life to that area of Charlestown. It’s a win.”

While there is a parking lot behind the church for the store, Rauseo said he envisions a good many people walking from the surrounding neighborhood.

“I think many customers will just walk there,” he said. “This property is surrounded on three sides by the Bunker Hill Development. This will give people who live there an opportunity to walk to get groceries.”

The Dollar Tree space is just about 11,000 sq. ft.

Meanwhile, the space on the first floor that is about 12,000 sq. ft. could be about anything at the moment, Rauseo said, but a restaurant concept is likely the strongest use.

“All that’s left is the first level,” he said. “We have a whole bunch of interested tenants looking at that. It could be a restaurant. We have many groups looking at it. It could be offices. I think the restaurant use is probably the strongest. We have some high quality restaurants that want to go in there.”

Rauseo said his company is based in Charlestown, and he lives in Boston. A previous article indicated he lived in Rockport, which is not the case.

“We are very much a Boston based development company,” he said.