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Vacancy Vision: What Should Fill The Cabot Farms Catering Space?

When people see this vintage space they see potential for something cool, but what should go there?

Empty storefronts and unused commercial spaces are eyesores, but an empty storefront can also be an opportunity; they allow new, exciting, desired businesses to move into neighborhoods. 

With "Vacancy Visions," we feature an empty space somewhere in the city and ask one question: If you were king or queen of Somerville, what would you put there?

Today's vacancy vision: Cabot Farms Catering, a.k.a. Garden Club, near Powderhouse Rotary.

Most people who walk by this space do a double take. These days, anything with a vintage or "retro" vibe is cool, particularly in a hip place like Somerville, and especially during the current cocktail renaissance.

And here's this spot, blocks outside Davis Square and steps away from Tufts University, that's all those things, with a heavy dose of authenticity added to the mix, and it's empty!

Back in 2007, members of Davis Square Live Journal discussed the issue, and one person posted a short history of Cabot Farms, recalling its past as a club and function hall.

Jimmy Del Ponte, a fountain of Somerville history, wrote about the space in a 2010 column for the Somerville News and proposed a few of his own ideas for the spot.

So, what do you want there?

If you were king or queen of Somerville, what would you put in that space?

One suggestion:

This place screams "jazz" and "cocktails," and something like the Beehive, in the South End, could be cool.

Also, if you've got information and stories about this building, please share.

Leslie Gildart February 21, 2012 at 08:52 PM
It could be used for a local musicians' cooperative venue. Somerville has a huge musical community made up of unbelievably talented people who have no problem drawing crowds and selling enough beer to keep numerous other venues doing quite well. They also could partner with local restaurants and bakeries for functions/weddings/etc. that wouldn't be the typical badge of shame type gig.
cp kostos February 22, 2012 at 09:57 PM
This spot has been inactive and empty for years. There is a zoning use issue. A former commercial use in a residential zoning. There are building, plumbing,and electrical code violations that need to be dealt with. This neighborhood is adverse to any commercial development. The best use would be to conform to its zoning use.... Residential ! There are parking and traffic issues to be dealt with. Maybe in Cambridge this might be a developers dream, but in Somerville? Fahgetaboutit!!!!
Alice Grossman February 23, 2012 at 09:00 PM
Too bad it is considered residential! It should be rezoned commercial obviously. On. Broadway and close to so many other businesses and with that wonderful architectural front the zoning surely should be changed and the unique front preserved! A venue with music for sure but I would emphasize dancing - a dancehall for swing, ballroom, salsa ! I see dance lessons, live and receded music...
paul smith February 24, 2012 at 05:33 PM
Well it is always nice to suggest what should happen in what is clearly a residential neighborhood. The city has already began destroying neighborhoods with large developments, multiple units on small lots and businesses right in neighborhoods. The city needs to do a more open and honest job when approving developments in residential neighborhoods. The board of alderman recently commented on the lack of open space yet they let all these grossly oversized buildings be built. Sadly to say a home owner who wants to maybe add a dormer, porch or other more suitable addition to their home so they could have more livable space they get racked over the coals and forced through a grueling expensive process and usually denied. I'll bet if Joe and the gang want something at that location he will get it. stay tuned If there talk about it something will happen and it will be a battle for those that live near the site.
Sophie February 26, 2012 at 02:47 AM
I would love to house an event planning/event hall in that space! Too bad about the zoning but if it were a private business that's not open to the public but only to specified events would the same issue come up?

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