Boston Nonprofit Launches Commonwealth Places Campaign to Bring Community Bike Shop and Cafe to Historic Dorchester Building

$50,000 goal to win matching grant through MassDevelopment’s Commonwealth Places Initiative

May 23, 2018


Kelsey Abbruzzese, MassDevelopment, 617-330-2086 & 617-448-9077 (cell)

Jonathan Berk, Patronicity, 617-750-6008

Christine Araujo, The American City Coalition, 857-308-3010

Comfort StationMassDevelopment and the civic crowdfunding platform Patronicity have launched a new Commonwealth Places campaign with The American City Coalition, a Boston nonprofit working on behalf of low-income residents in underserved neighborhoods. The organization’s campaign will bring new life to the old Comfort Station on Columbia Road by transforming it into a local café and bike repair shop. The Sip & Spoke community partnership includes: 

  • Bowdoin Bike School, a nonprofit social enterprise that Noah Hicks DeAmor founded to provide low-cost bicycles, repair services, youth apprenticeships, and instruction with the goal of making cycling accessible to those previously underserved
  • Historic Boston Inc., an experienced nonprofit developer of historic properties 
  • The American City Coalition, which focuses on expanding economic opportunity and neighborhood vitality in Boston’s Roxbury and North Dorchester neighborhoods

Together with the Upham’s Corner community, these partners are working to realize the community’s vision of turning this long-vacant architectural treasure in the Upham's Corner core business district into an active community hub.

“Transforming this historic Upham’s Corner building into a space for community gathering and learning will provide an economic boost to Roxbury and Dorchester,” said MassDevelopment President and CEO Lauren Liss. “We’re pleased to support the Sip & Spoke partnership’s efforts to expand economic opportunity and neighborhood vitality, powered by bicycles and coffee.”

If the campaign reaches its crowdfunding goal of $50,000 by June 30 at midnight, the project will win a matching grant with funds from MassDevelopment’s Commonwealth Places program. Learn more and donate at

“The reactivation of the Comfort Station will bring an active community hub to the heart of Upham's Corner,” said Christine Araujo, Executive Director, The American City Coalition. “The project will contribute to the vitality of the neighborhood by restoring a historic building, expanding access to green spaces and creating jobs. The bike shop and cafe--two uses that were defined as important by the community—will add to this beautifully designed space,” added Araujo.

Commonwealth Places is a collaborative initiative from MassDevelopment and Patronicity that leverages public support for placemaking projects through crowdfunding and a matching grant from MassDevelopment. The program engages residents in the development of strategic projects in their towns and cities. In June 2017, MassDevelopment announced $1 million in funding for the second year of the program, which has supported successful campaigns across the Commonwealth, from Northampton to Hyannis. Communities, nonprofits, and other entities can learn more about these successful projects, donate to ongoing campaigns, and apply at

MassDevelopment, the state’s finance and development agency, works with businesses, nonprofits, financial institutions, and communities to stimulate economic growth across the Commonwealth. During FY2017, MassDevelopment financed or managed 377 projects generating investment of more than $4.3 billion in the Massachusetts economy. These projects are projected to create about 9,488 jobs and build or rehabilitate 1,863 residential units.