National Sandwich Chain to Lease Pink Palace on Boston Common

March 30, 2011

-By Dan Murphy

The city has selected a Florida-based national chain of sandwich shops as the next tenant of the Pink Palace on the Boston Common.

Earl of Sandwich of Orlando, Fla., has agreed to sign a 15-year lease to run a small takeout operation out of the octagonal, 660-square-foot structure, located near the park’s tennis court and ball fields, the city announced last week.

The vending kiosk is expected to open in late 2011 or early 2012, and a portion of revenue from the business will support upkeep of the Common.

“This is a great opportunity to transform a unique unused space into an active business, while contributing to the vitality of the Boston Common,” Boston Parks Department Commissioner Toni Pollak said in a statement. “This project will allow us to preserve a historic building while also bringing new life to the park for all visitors to enjoy.”

The Pink Palace was built in the 1920s as a men’s restroom facility and has sat vacant for decades.

“I am thrilled to see that Earl of Sandwich has received the contract for the abandoned structure on the Boston Common,” City Councilor Mike Ross, who chaired the council’s Special Committee on the Boston Common, said in a statement. “Residents and visitors alike will be drawn to this restaurant, which will bring new jobs, revenue and life to America’s oldest park. I look forward to seeing what this business does with this unique space and continuing our work in restoring more of the Boston Common.”

In 2008, the committee issued a report that addressed the future of the Common in regard to its maintenance and physical infrastructure, public safety, and financial opportunities and challenges. The report recommended opening an outdoor eatery on the park as one way to revitalize the area.

Last year, Gov. Deval Patrick signed legislation that allows the city to renovate and lease the Pink Place and the Duck House on the Back Bay Fens. Both buildings are under the jurisdiction of the city’s Parks Department.

Representatives from the Earl of Sandwich were not immediately available for comment.

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