Japanese restaurant proposed for Brookline's Kabbalah Centre location

Wicked Local, Boston/September 10, 2010

A Japanese sushi and steak house is proposed for Green Street in Brookline's Coolidge Corner, in a building that now houses the New York-based Kabbalah Centre.

Osaka Japanese Sushi & Steak House, which has been proposed for 14 Green St., would offer a full bar, room for 140 customers and possibly valet parking.

According to a draft memo from the Planning Board to the Zoning Board of Appeals, applicants Jianping Zheng and Dingzhi Chen proposed to convert the building to a Japanese hibachi restaurant, with seating for 140 customers and staffed with 30 workers.

It's unclear from the application what will happen to the Kabbalah Centre, which is based out of New York City, according to the secretary of state's corporation division. The TAB has contacted the center for comment.

The building's main level would have room for hibachi tables, a bar area and a sushi bar, while the basement would house the kitchen and storage area.

The applicants said they'd provide MBTA passes to workers, and offer valet parking to customers. There is no room for customer parking on the property.

The Planning Board is set to discuss the proposed restaurant on Sept. 16, and the Zoning Board of Appeals will review it on Sept. 23. Selectmen are scheduled to review whether to issue an all-kinds liquor license on Sept. 21.

This isn't the first time the property was eyed for a restaurant. In 1998, the Planning Board voted against a plan to convert the property from an office building into an 80-seat restaurant.

The town's building commissioner, Michael Shepard, and the applicants disagree on what kind of building the Kabbalah Centre is - Shepard said it serves a religious use, while the applicants say it's a bookstore.

The difference in uses would affect the number of parking spaces required under the town's zoning bylaw. Right now, the building doesn't require parking because of its religious use. But office space under the bylaw requires parking, the amount of which is determined by square footage of each floor of a building.

According to the memo, that means 28 spaces will be required for the restaurant if its use is changed from religious to office space, and a variance will be needed under the bylaw.

But if the applicants get their way, the parking requirement would fall to 18 spaces, and they would ask the Zoning Board to eliminate many of the required spots through a special permit from the Zoning Board.

To see more documents/articles regarding this group/organization/subject click here.