DELUCA’S MARKET ON Charles Street moved another step closer to a grand reopening when the city’s Zoning Board of Appeal (ZBA) voted unanimously on Feb. 13 to grant its request for variances.
Applicant and proprietor Virgil Aiello had applied for zoning relief to allow the market use of a non-conforming, recently excavated portion of the basement at the rear of 15 Charles St. for store purposes.
The city’s favorable ruling came one day after the Beacon Hill Civic Association (BHCA) board of directors voted not to oppose Aiello’s request. This marked a rare instance in which the board’s decision stood in contrast to that of the BHCA Zoning and Licensing Committee, which voted on Jan. 29 to oppose granting zoning relief to the market.
According to the BHCA Feb. 11 motion, it voted not to oppose the requested zoning relief because, between the the Zoning and Licensing Committee meeting and hearing and its own monthly board meeting, Aiello had provided “stamped” drawings of the planned expansion; and he and brother Robert Aiello, co-owners of the property, had signed a “good neighbor agreement” with the BHCA addressing abutters’ ongoing concerns, abutters including use of a passageway behind the market and King’s Chapel.
The motion also came after Thomas Hopkins, executive director of the Massachusetts Architectural Access Board (AAB), informed the BHCA that the drawings showed acceptable access and restroom facilities for the disabled, and were subsequently likely to be approved by the state board at its April hearing.
“We’re delighted to have the cooperation of the Civic Association and community in support of the reopening of DeLuca’s,” Virgil Aiello told the Times. “We feel we will be of better service to community by using new basement space for retail. This new space will allow us to have a little more room for self-service cases, as well as service cases.”
As for his expected timeline, Virgil Aiello said; “We hope to open that part of store in two to five weeks, and the rest shortly thereafter.”
Besides final approval from the ZBA, Aiello said the market must also secure a permit from the city’s Division of Health Inspections after its new kitchen is rebuilt.
“We’re in process of refining our menu to provide the city with the items we hope to produce,” Virgil Aiello said. “We hope to offer a lot of in-house prepared foods, including many of the same items prepared by the staff at our Newbury Street store.”
In September, DeLuca’s reopened its wine cellar more than two years after the Charles Street store fell prey to a four-alarm fire on July 8, 2010, that reportedly caused an estimated $1 million in damages and was the result of an electrical malfunction in the basement.