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Milky Way Mural Is Gone

The Milky Way mural in Hyde Square was painted over within the past week.

When Whole Foods moved into the building that used to house Hi-Lo Foods, some residents insisted that the murals on the front and back of the building be kept. Whole Foods .

But an adjacent mural hasn't fared so well. Within the past week, the colorful Milky Way mural has been painted over in battleship gray to match the rest of the building.

Passersby varied in their reactions. Alex Vermeulen of JP said that neighborhoods change.

"It's private property. The landlord can do what he wants with it," said Vermeulen.

Another resident, Joe Wyatt, wasn't so charitable toward Mordechai Levin, the owner of the parcel that used to house the Milky Way.

The parcel has been vacant since 2009, after Bella Luna Restaurant/Milky Way Lounge left the building. Levin increased the rent from $13,000 a month to $24,000 a month, according to a 2008 JP Gazette story.

The landlord having to pay taxes on an empty, non-revenue producing building is just desserts, said Wyatt.

"I consider it a piece of justice he's been unable to lease it," said Wyatt. "As far as I can tell, he's trying to destroy the neighborhood."

Levin could not be immediately reached for comment about whether a new tenant is in the works. since at least March.

The is still in JP, having moved to the Brewery to become an anchor tenant.

Shawn F. November 17, 2011 at 07:32 PM
that property ends up being a write off to lessen his tax burden..... maybe he can write off enough of a loss there to offset any rent he would have had.
nancy November 17, 2011 at 10:07 PM
IN 2006 Mordechai Levin and Stavros Frantzis as trustees of M&S Realty Trust conveyed 211 Green Street to 3353 Washington LLC for nominal consideration One can assume then that the two of them are the partners in the LLC, though to be sure you'd have to go to the Secy of State's office. The same day the two of them conveyed 597-605 Centre St to Centre Pond LLC, (the Ten Tables/Bon Savor block) Also 203 Green St to 203 Green LLC and 401 Centre st to 401 Centre LLC, the Mily Way mural building/block. And to understand how he can let them go empty for so long, know that he bought 401 Centre St in 1991 for $450,000 though theres a $2,565,000 mortgage on it. He bought 597 Centre St in 1992 for $245,000 and has a $500,000 mortgage on it, (that he took out this past August) and he bought the Washington and Green Sts. parcels in 1994 for $127,000 and has a $260,000 mortgage on it currently. Except for the Perkins/Centre St parcel, their numbers are prob doing ok.
Rik A. December 06, 2011 at 12:11 AM
I don't get these personal attacks on local property owners. They took on risk buying those properties, fixed them up, and kept them vacant until they found good tenants that could add a nice mix to the neighborhood's retail. If people here want to exert control on the local real estate market, they should buy some property and put their money where their mouth is. Complaints about empty storefronts should also be directed at the JPNDC -- hasn't anyone noticed that their new retail spaces at Blessed Sacrament have sat completely empty since the building went up?
Sarah Lydon December 06, 2011 at 01:30 AM
I don't see any personal attacks here. I would, however, like to see these vacant properties filled with, as you say, "good tenants" and I'm perplexed as to how these property owners have been unable to find tenants for eight-plus years. Given that history and by their behavior vis a vis Bella Luna et al, I'm concerned that those properties and the surrounding neighborhood will suffer the same fate.
Rik A. December 06, 2011 at 02:51 AM
Well, the old Bella Luna and June Bug spaces have been completely renovated with new glass storefronts and interiors. These are not abandoned, boarded up storefronts in Hyde Square. They may be empty, but it's obvious that the owner is investing in upgrades and maintenance to attract new tenants. The old Fat Ram's and the empty salon next to Sorella's both look pretty ramshackle. Where's the outcry there? I'm still perplexed why the JPNDC hasn't filled their vacant storefronts at Blessed Sacrament with the small, locally owned businesses they promised. Where's the JP Patch article about that debacle?

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