Today, I took some time off and walked around Beacon Hill and I spoke with some restaurant owners and here’s what they had to said:
COVID cut deeply into our business — as it did with many other restaurent owners across the city — forcing some to close down and exit those leases. Some have managed to keep their venue alive after spending money on pricey umbrellas, planters, tables and chairs to take advantage of the city’s outdoor dining program.
But here’s the problem; with winter in the distance and with unanswered questions about how open-air dining will operate in frigid temperatures, Beacon Hill restaurant owners are apprehensive and a bit poetic about the future.
As one restaurant owner said:
We have become business partners with Mother Nature and the New England weather
But it’s not just restaurant owners Beacon Hill landlords of these businesses are concerned as well. One Beacon Hill builiding owner told me:
If city officials “don’t want the real estate market to crash, and they don’t want a 1929-style cataclysmic depression, they better come up with something, because we are slowly marching to our graves.
Boston Reall Estate and the Bottom Line
The ambiguity makes life challenging for both restaurant operators and Boston real estate landlords. Presently I know a few landlords who are already grappling with tenants unable to pay their full rent and many others who have bailed out entirely.
Few industry pros interviewed saw long-term viability in outdoor dining, especially when the cold weather comes.