As massive change comes to South End, the small businesses that gave the neighborhood its vibe are starting to flee.
The Boulevard at South End — a neat little boutique store that sells jewelry and other hand-crafted goods by local artisans — announced Thursday that its last day of business would be December 30. The store is right across the street from the big Dimensional Place office project and close to a number of other potential redevelopments in the next few years.
The nearby HD Supply property is expected to be redeveloped in the coming years, and Beacon Properties also recently bought the Fowler Building across the street from Boulevard.
“We could literally be surrounded on three sides by construction,” said co-owner Jennifer Branham. “I think that that corner would be just almost impossible to operate a business from.”
You probably don’t need the background info by now, but here it is: The triangular-shaped block that was home to Common Market and Food Truck Friday has been sold, and will become a large office complex that will be the headquarters of Dimensional Fund Advisors. The project will bring new retail space and a much-needed parking deck to the area, but will displace a number of beloved businesses.
Now that whole part of South End is in transition, months before the first crane will appear. Common Market is still looking for a new home, though owner Blake Barnes said the search is proving much more difficult than he initially thought.
Blush, the boutique store right behind the marquee South End sign, closed up shop and went online only spring.
Black Sheep Skate Shop will be forced out as well and is looking to move to Plaza Midwood.
Boulevard at South End will look for a new home as well, but Branham didn’t sound too optimistic. Any potential retail location is either unfinished or charging rents that independent businesses can’t afford, she said.
“The issue with South End, really all of South End is up in the air,” she said.