The Board of Selectmen unanimously approved Monday operating, all-alcohol and public entertainment licenses for the Common Ground gastropub proposal for Arlington Center.
The board will revisit the restaurant/bar’s outdoor seating and awning plans at a later date.
The board’s approval makes the more than 5,200-square-foot gastropub a reality, as it already made it through the town’s Redevelopment Board unscathed. It’s slated for 319 Broadway, the former home of Gemma on Broadway Plaza.
Common Ground’s owners, Bob and Laurie O’Guin, of Newton, already own Common Ground Bar & Grill at 85 Harvard Ave. in Allston. Bob O’Guin has said that his Arlington location will be much different, more low key than his Allston one – and this point was reiterated to the board Monday.
Prior to opening Common Ground in Allston, O’Guin was the general manager of the now-closed The Kells in Allston for 15 years, according to his application.
O’Guin said he believes the restaurant will be ready to open in December or on Jan. 1.
The approved operating license allows for 106 seats in the restaurant’s main, front room and an additional 90 seats in its back function room. The back room will not be used for overflow seating, O’Guin’s attorney, John Leone, said Monday.
Open until midnight, seven days a week
The operating license also allows Common Ground to stay open until midnight every night of the week. However, if the restaurant does receive outdoor seating in the future, that seating will shut down at 10 p.m. – Selectman Joseph Curro Jr. recommended this provision.
In addition, the license allows amplified music in the back room, but none in the front dining area.
Rent and Investment
The O’Guins will pay $6,582.50 per month in rent to Triton Realty Trust for use of the property ($78,990 per year), according to their all-alcohol license application. They signed a five-year lease with an option for another five.
They also are planning to put $200,000 toward renovations/construction and are estimating another $25,000 in start-up costs, according to the application.
Robert Mirak, a developer of the Legacy apartments across Mass. Ave., and Michael Ruderman, a Town Meeting member who lives at 9 Alton St. around the corner, spoke against elements of the proposal – mainly concerns about noise, its midnight closing time and potential outdoor seating.
Other restaurants in Arlington Center close at 10 p.m. during the week and 11 p.m. on weekends – however, town bylaws allow restaurants that serve alcohol to stay open until midnight (Menotomy Grill & Tavern in East Arlington is open until midnight, for instance).
Four residents spoke in favor of the proposal – most said they have been waiting for something like Common Ground to come along for a while. “[Arlington is] missing that vibrancy that we’d like to see,” said Tess Hartwell, who said Common Ground would help fill this void.