The old Coleman Manufacturing building might have an address of Waters Avenue, but a new vision for the old property faces the other direction – not towards the street like most business, but rather towards the Northern Strand Bike Path.
New building owner Gregory Berberian told the Independent this week that he is in the midst of building out a new ice cream and coffee shop in a portion of the old Coleman building, and it will be a business that looks to capitalize on the busy bike trail and parkland and not so much the street and car market – one of the first bike path-oriented businesses to spring up on the Northern Strand in Everett.
“My dream here, the vision and plan I have is to take the front door on Waters Avenue and Elm Way and focus the entry on the back of the building because I want to open the building up to the walking trail,” he said on Monday. “We’re going to build out a coffee shop and ice cream store ourselves, and we’re talking with two operators right now. It sounds promising but if not we’ll operate it ourselves. We’ve taken the old boards off the window and have a new doorway we just put in. We’re excited and the City is excited. We’re going to have it up and running this summer. Everett has been good to us.”
The Berberian family owns a tremendous amount of property in the Air Force Road area, and is the landlord for such notable operations as the SkyZone, Revolution Axe, Bone Up Brewery, Village Bar & Grill and so many others.
Berberian said they purchased the Coleman Manufacturing building in February 2020 with the idea of orienting it to the walking path and the rest of the renaissance going on to the west of the property. They purchased it from Mr. Coleman, whose family had operated the business for 100 years over three generations. He said they would call the building ‘The Coleman.’
“We love the area,” he said. “It’s getting bigger and there’s synergy between it all and the more we have here, the better for the entire area. The difference is you don’t have to build the destination now. The destination is here already and you just need to build out interesting uses.”
The build-out of the Coleman comes just as the City is expanding the Northern Strand under Revere Beach Parkway, behind Gateway Mall and connecting to the Mystic River waterfront at Encore. A future bike/pedestrian bridge is on the books to be built at the terminus, and if ever completed, it would open the Northern Strand to thousands of riders from Boston, Cambridge and Somerville as well.
The new coffee and ice cream shop would be phase one for the building and would be located on the south side of the building. Through COVID times, Berberian said they focused on solidifying the building – re-pointing all the masonry and getting ready to put a new roof on this week. On the other side of the one-story building he said they hope to put a restaurant, brewery or winery – again facing outward to the bike path. Already, they’ve gotten the permissions from the MBTA to build out a patio on the outdoor area abutting the Northern Strand so that there is a welcome “front” from the path to the building. With so many tenants in the area, he said there’s a possibility for one of them to expand or move to the Coleman location – or maybe a new business would be interested.
That will come in time, and he said there is long-term interest in potentially building residential units on top of the commercial building – but for now he said they’re focusing on the project at hand.
And getting it done is something they’re doing quickly, he said.
“I can’t afford to wait,” he said. “I don’t want to miss this opportunity.”