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Apartment building to replace Canestaro restaurant

Posted by Johanna Kaiser  January 24, 2013 02:07 PM

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A well-loved neighborhood restaurant will lose its home in the Fenway as a new apartment building is erected in its place.

Canestaro restaurant on Peterborough Street in the West Fenway is set to be demolished to make way for a new five-story apartment building planned for the site.

The apartment building planned for 16-20 Peterborough St. was approved by the Boston Redevelopment Authority last week, and will bring 20 two-bedroom rental units to the largely residential area. Three of the units will be affordable housing. The development team is Yannis Leminopoulos and Nunes Trabucco Architects.

The 27,000-square-foot building will also include basement office space and 12 parking spaces, but no restaurant.

“People are for this, except for the one issue is folks in the community wanted to see a restaurant stay there, and that was difficult for the developer to do.” John Fitzgerald, a project manager for Boston Redevelopment Authority told the redevelopment board, as seen in video of the meeting.

The developer offered the owner of Canestaro, which serves Italian fare, an opportunity to stay in the first floor of the new building, but the eatery would have to close during demolition and construction. Canestaro’s owner declined to stay, according to Fitzgerald.

At a November community meeting discussing the planned project, residents urged the developer to find a way to keep Canestaro or another restaurant in the space, saying the restaurant was the heart of the neighborhood, and the area needed a gathering place for neighbors.

Fitzgerald said the developer tried to find a restaurant interested in the space, but was not successful.

“It’s been difficult having this be a standalone kind of restaurant area, especially with Restaurant Row down the way and all the restaurants opening on Boylston,” said Fitzgerald,

Fitzgerald noted that the banks backing the project did not want a restaurant space to be built into the project without a tenant already lined up for the space.

The $6 million project must now be approved by the Zoning Board of Appeal.

E-mail Kaiser at Johanna.yourtown@gmail.com. For more news about your city, town, neighborhood, or campus, visit boston.com’s Your Town homepage.

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