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New jazz restaurant slated for Dudley Square's Bolling Building

The JazzUrbane Cafe was selected for a street-level space that will bring family-friendly dining options and community space to the historic heart of Boston.

Mayor Martin J. Walsh tonight announced at his annual State of the City address that JazzUrbane Cafe, a full-service restaurant, entertainment venue, and community space, has been selected to operate the 7,800 square foot street-level space in Roxbury's Bruce C. Bolling Municipal Building. The brainchild of professor, composer, and author William Banfield, JazzUrbane Cafe will anchor Dudley Square as a destination of art, entertainment, and community for Bostonians and beyond.

"We're working to create opportunity in every neighborhood and every community in Boston, and the JazzUrbane Cafe will serve as a place for families and friends to gather for community conversations, civic meetings, entertainment and so much more," said Mayor Walsh. "I'm proud to have this new venue in the Bolling Building, and continue creating spaces and opportunities for all."

JazzUrbane Cafe will offer high-end and affordable dining options for patrons and families. As a unique entertainment option for residents and visitors, JazzUrbane Cafe will present live performances from internationally renowned musicians and performing artists, as well as notable local performers and performing arts groups, including musicians, theater companies, dance groups and more.

"JazzUrbane Cafe is designed to bring neighbors together and celebrate through the shared love of food, art, and community in a warm and inviting venue," said Bill Banfield, JazzUrbane Cafe Boston. "I'm grateful to Mayor Walsh and the City of Boston, and I am excited for the opportunity to create a truly unique experience in Roxbury, to bring back jazz to Dudley Square, and build an establishment that will become a destination for all residents and visitors."

In addition to the scheduled entertainment events, JazzUrbane Cafe has committed to be a welcoming and integral part of the Dudley Square and Greater Roxbury communities. During the week, the cafe will be open during the day for community groups and arts organizations to utilize the space for community celebrations, civic engagement events, or arts and culture workshops and rehearsals. JazzUrbane Cafe's space, along with the 10,000 square feet of ground-level retail and 32,000 square feet of open and public lobby space, will build on the Bolling Building's reputation as a space for culture and community.

"Dudley Square represents a mix of commerce, history, and culture, and we believe Bill Banfield will bring that history to life with JazzUrbane Cafe," said John F. Barros, Chief of Economic Development. "As a shared space for families, artists, and community members, JazzUrbane Cafe will enliven the neighborhood with a dynamic storefront, dining options, and and stage to showcase Boston's local talent in the heart of the city."

The Mayor's Office of Economic Development, in partnership with the Department of Property Management, originally sought proposals for the space. The City's Review Committee, which was comprised of four department representatives and three community members, evaluated the three proposals submitted based on retail business characteristics, management expertise and experience, financial capacity, community participation, rent commitment.

"After much consideration and discussion, we believe that Bill Banfield's vision and JazzUrbane Cafe's unique dining and entertainment offerings will renew excitement and nightlife in Dudley Square" said Carlos Castillo, Castillo Wine and Spirits and RFP Review Committee Community Member. "As a small business owner nearby, I look forward to increased visitors and the potential for existing businesses to be exposed to a larger audience and new business opportunities."

The Bruce C. Bolling Municipal Building, located in the heart of Dudley Square, is the historic, mixed-use headquarters of Boston Public Schools, uniting 500 administrative staff and attracting visitors for public meetings and hearings throughout the year. The Bolling Building is also home to the Roxbury Innovation Center, public meeting and engagement spaces, and approximately 10,000 square feet of leased tenant space at the street level, bringing needed private sector retail and evening restaurant offerings to Dudley Square. The ground-level space on the north front of the building is currently considered a core and shell space, allowing proposed tenants to customize the space to their unique plan for activation.

Located in the geographic center of Boston, Dudley Square contains over 150 businesses, representing retail demand by neighborhood residents of more than $610 million annually. The square is anchored by the Commonwealth's most heavily trafficked MBTA bus station, serving 35,000 people a day. Recent revitalization efforts by the City, including the renovation of the Dudley Branch Library, the BCYF Vine Street Community Center, and the Boston Police Department's B-2 Station, have served as a catalyst for private development in the greater Roxbury area.

In addition to the recently completed Tropical Foods, development projects underway or in review include the over 300,000 square foot mixed-use Guscott Rio Grande building at 2343-2345 Washington Street; the mixed-use Tremont Crossing, which includes over 288,000 square feet of destination retail, 116,000 square feet of neighborhood retail, and the 31,000 square foot NCAAA Museum and Exhibition Space; and, the Melnea Hotel and Residences, a 135 room hotel and residential apartment building with 8,000 square feet of retail space permitted. The City is encouraging additional investment in Dudley Square with proposals for four Department of Neighborhood Development parcels currently under review for mixed use projects including low-income, moderate-income, and market-rate housing.  

The future of Dudley Square is currently being envisioned through PLAN: Dudley Square, a community plan exploring the development program of publicly owned parcels, which builds upon the Roxbury Strategic Master Plan. Imagine Boston 2030, the first city-wide planning process in 50 years, identified the Bolling Building as a model public-private partnership that should be replicated in other growth areas of the City.

About the Bruce C. Bolling Municipal Building

The Bruce C. Bolling Municipal Building opened on April 27, 2015, and incorporates the Ferdinand Furniture Building, the Curtis Block and the Waterman & Sons building, into a new state of the art facility. The six-story building houses an estimated 500 municipal employees from Boston Public Schools and features office space, as well as open space for student work, school events, and community gatherings. The building also includes 18,000 square feet of street-level space, and the 3,350 square foot Roxbury Innovation Center. The Building is a 2017 Silver medalist for the Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence.

The City of Boston's $115 million investment in the Bruce C. Bolling Municipal Building has spurred private investment across Dudley Square. The building is a collaboration between the City of Boston's Property and Construction Management Department, and the Boston Planning and Development Agency working closely with the community and historic preservationists. The Bruce C. Bolling Municipal Building was designed by Mecanoo architecten and Sasaki Associates. Shawmut Design and Construction served as the CM at-Risk contractor, with project management services being handled by PMA Consultants.

About the Mayor's Office of Economic Development

The Economic Development Cabinet's mission is to make Boston an appealing and accessible place for working families, entrepreneurs, businesses, and investors to innovate, grow, and thrive in a way that fosters inclusion, broadens opportunity, and shares prosperity, thereby enhancing the quality of life for all Bostonians and the experience for all visitors.

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