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Sandwich shop to open on the Common

Vacant building to getmakeover

Construction has begun on a project to transform a long-vacant restroom on Boston Common into a sandwich shop.

Fencing and scaffolding surrounded the 660-square-foot octagon-shaped structure earlier this week as a construction crew began working to turn it into a new location for the Earl of Sandwich chain.

The building, known as the Pink Palace because of the hue of its masonry, was built in the 1920s as a men’s comfort station but has been closed since the 1970s. It sits near the common’s baseball fields and tennis courts and the Parkman Bandstand.

Last September, the city announced it had signed a 15-year lease with the Orlando-based Earl of Sandwich. Under the terms of the lease, the company will pay $50,000 a year to the city.

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“This building has been kind of a decaying and dead building in the common for many years,” said Elizabeth Vizza, executive director of the Friends of the Public Garden, said Wednesday. “It will be great to have some activity in there.”

Vizza said she expects the sandwich shop to attract visitors and revitalize the area, much like the recent renovation of Brewer Fountain Plaza has done.

“It will bring some life to that part of the common,” she said.

The restaurant chain has hired it own contractors and will pay for the cost of renovations, city officials said.

Vizza said the restaurant chain is renovating the interior of the building while seeking to maintain its historic facade. She said her group hopes to ensure that lighting and signs are well integrated into the park, and that truck deliveries are timed to cause as little disruption as possible.

The franchise has locations in California, Florida, New York, Nevada, and Texas, and one inside Logan Airport.

A sign hanging on the fence surrounding the construction site promises passersby, “The sandwiches are coming.”

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An engineering report commissioned by the city and released in 2007 found that renovations would take about two years and cost from $750,000 to just under $1 million, the Globe has reported.


Johanna Kaiser can be reached at johanna.yourtown@gmail.com. For more news from Boston neighborhoods and surrounding towns, go to boston.com/yourtown.