Third Rail Restaurant

Roslindale, MA


Peregrine Urban Initiatives, Historic Boston, Inc., Roslindale Village Main Streets, Chris Douglass


Adaptive reuse of historic MBTA Substation for 4,000 SF restaurant and 4,000 SF of retail, office & restaurant support space below


The community of Roslindale had long sought a financially viable way to preserve and retain Roslindale’s historic MBTA substation. Situated at the heart of the village’s business district across from vibrant and recently renovated Adams Park, the substation has sat, vacant and deteriorating, a constant reminder to all who persevered to see it preserved. After fourteen years and several attempts at development by the BRA, Roslindale Village Main Streets, Historic Boston, The Peregrine Urban Initiative and PCA were selected to find a solution. The key, it turned out, was to leverage a neighboring site to develop housing as the catalyst.


Teaming with Chris Douglass, a well-known high-end local restaurateur, PCA is creating his newest vision, the Third Rail which will occupy the large volume upper level of the substation. Craft Beer Cellar will occupy the ground floor along with office space for Peregrine Development.

The Third Rail design will make full use of the dramatic height and industrial nature of the space. The enormous windows will be reopened and daylight will once again touch the concrete floors. The oversized door facing the park will open forever, allowing all to see the glazed brick volume inside. And for the first time in its history, more than just the handful of substation attendants will occupy the space. The restaurant will buzz with conversation and comradery of foodies and locals over an expertly prepared meal. As Chris says “the bar can’t be big enough” so a large bar and Douglass’ “dream kitchen” will define the edges of the dining room, keeping the windows, steel framed structure and views to the park past the copper clad doors the stars of the show.