Roslindale Substation Nears Completion

Roslindale Substation Nears Completion

Visitors to Roslindale Village can expect to see big changes at the historic Roslindale Substation which is being redeveloped for Chef Chris Douglass’ new concept restaurant, The Third Rail.

The project, the result of five years of planning and collaboration between HBI, Roslindale Village Main Street and Peregrine Group LLC, is the second of a two-phased project that includes the Substation’s restoration for a restaurant and retail, and 43 new apartments constructed on the former site of Higgins Funeral Home.

The faded mural that stretched across the east side elevation has been removed and the massive arched windows that had been bricked up since the 1970s, have been re-opened, shedding light into the soaring interior. A glimpse into the Substation reveals bright white sparkling brick walls, cleared of decades of layered soot.img_0007

The Roslindale Substation, built in 1911, 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. The Roslindale Substation continued operating until the 1970s but has been vacant and unused since then.

Over the summer, the substation’s massive ceiling crane, once used to move transformers and other equipment around the building, was moved into locked position at the center of the substation in accordance with plans prepared by project architect David Chilinski of Prellwitz Chilinski Associates. The crane will feature prominently in the new restaurant?s decor along with the buildings megalithic bronze front doors and massive arched windows on the eastern and western elevations of? the building.

This November the last major hurdle in construction was cleared when windows were installed on both the east and west side elevations. The Third Rail, the restaurant by Dorchester chef Chris Douglass on the Substation’s mail level is expected to begin its interior build out in early 2017 with the hopes of opening in the spring. The name references Douglass’ third food establishment and the electrified rail that powers some MBTA transit lines.

Craft Beer Cellar, a retail craft brew business, is expected to open in the lower level of the substation at year-end 2016.