CAMH discusses future of former Flann O’Brien’s property

The Community Alliance of Mission Hill (CAMH) met virtually on April 21, where it viewed a presentation by the developer of 1619 Tremont St. Around 20 members of the public attended.

The property in question is the site of Flann O’Brien’s, a popular neighborhood watering hole and recent COVID casualty. The bar was owned by Finbarr Murray until he was forced to close his doors in December.

MH Tremont LLC purchased the building, which includes four rental units, in March for just under $3 million. The company’s manager Adam Sarbaugh gave a presentation on his vision.

Sarbaugh is currently planning to convert the former bar into a sit-down restaurant.

“I think it’s good to have variety in the neighborhood with a sitdown place,” he said. “A place somebody will go three to four times a week, not a place that’s too expensive that you only go on a Friday.”

The restaurant would accommodate outdoor seating in the rear. A liquor license was secured in April. A plan is in place for trash removal. Live entertainment is not being explored at this time. The business can open as soon as a partner is secured.

Sarbaugh guaranteed that the new tenant would not be a chain restaurant, unless it’s a local chain. He added that he’s seeking a partnership and not a landlord-tenant relationship with a standard commercial lease.

“I would love to keep the history of Mission Hill,” he said. “I need to partner with the right person to go in that place.”

MH Tremont LLC will also convert the four rental units above the restaurant into six smaller units, which it will manage itself.

Sarbaugh showed various exterior design concepts for the renovated building, adding that he was open to input from the community. There are currently no plans to build on the roof.

One possible concept design for the exterior remodel

A major concern for residents was the iconic Flann O’Brien statue that currently peers out over the sidewalk in front of the entrance.

“Flann adds character,” stated one resident. “It’s a deal breaker if he’s not coming back.”

“No Flann, no dice,” said another.

Sarbaugh explained that the statue “has to come down” in order to provide an unobstructed view from the restaurant’s windows, which will remain the same size, or possibly be enlarged.

“There will be a bit of sadness when Flann is no longer standing,” acknowledged CAMH President Gary Walling.

The developer will be seeking zoning relief for the following violations: insufficient rear yard, excessive floor area ratio, insufficient off-street parking, and use of a Multifamily Residence in a Community Commercial Subdistrict.

A vote on the project will be held at the next CAMH meeting in May and all interested members of the public are invited to participate.

CAMH meets on the third Wednesday of the month at 7pm. Due to the coronavirus restrictions, all meetings will be held on Zoom for the foreseeable future.

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