The quest to bring a popular Watertown eatery to a spot overlooking the Newton Centre T stop cleared a big milestone last week.
Daryl Levy co-owner of the Deluxe Town Diner in Watertown, said she and her husband, Don, signed a lease with Boston Development Group for the space formerly occupied by the Newton Centre Starbucks. The space would be turned into a satellite diner with 90 seats, under the Levy's plans.
The move was made after the Newton Board of Aldermen voted to approve a recommendation by the city's Land Use Committee to waive 18 required parking spaces for the new restaurant.
"Now that the city has given us the green light, we're going full steam ahead," Daryl Levy said. "We're in the process of drawing up plans and are hoping to have the new diner operational this fall."
Ted Hess-Mahan, chairman of the Land Use Committee, said the Board of Aldermen had approved the recommendation at its April 20 meeting.
"The window for appeals to the Board's decision has closed, so they're good to go," Hess-Mahan said. "They're moving forward, and I know they have a lot of plans for the space."
In the report issued after their April 6 meeting, the Land Use Committee said it had received multiple letters from citizens who supported the diner, and that more spoke in favor that night.
"Landscaping improvements and other proposed street amenities will enhance the area, and the reuse of the currently vacant building is a benefit to the public because it will help preserve an architecturally historic building and grounds and contribute to the safety of the area," the report read.
The building, which is owned by the MBTA, has great historic value; it was designed by H. H. Richardson and the original landscaping was done by Frederick Law Olmsted.
Levy said every effort would be taken to remain true to the authenticity and character of the building, and that research was being done to recreate the landscaping as faithfully as possible. $25,000 will be spent updating the exterior of the building, including adding bicycle and stroller racks.
"Newton is a very active community, and we're so grateful for how many people have taken it upon themselves to help," Levy said. "There's an incredible volunteer effort focused on revitalizing the whole area, and we're thrilled to be a part of it."
The Levys are currently conducting feasability studies for a pick-up window for quicker food-delivery, as well as pursuing a liquor license.
"We're not looking to open up a bar, we just think people should be able to enjoy a glass of wine with their delicious food," Levy said. The Watertown location also serves wine and beer.
According to the Boston Development Corporation's website, other commercial spaces within the Union Street station are still available for lease. Representatives from BDC had no comment on which spaces were available.