A marijuana entrepreneur tried to convince skeptical Chinatown residents tonight that turning the decaying former Jacob Wirth restaurant into a state-of-the-art cannabis concern would benefit local groups, give jobs to people harmed by the war on drugs and save a national landmark.
In an online meeting, Andrea Pearce, owner of Royalty Group, LLC, outlined her plans to turn the restaurant floor of 31-39 Stuart St. into a roughly 3,740-square foot dispensary selling everything from “flour” to marijuana-laced baked goods, tinctures, vape cannisters and other products. She said she would move her corporate offices, now in the same building as the Royale nightclub on Tremont Street, into the building’s upper two floors.
The restaurant closed in 2018 due to water damage from efforts to knock down a fire on one of the floors above it. Pearce said she has a letter of intent to buy the building that is based on her winning city and state approval for her proposed shop, although she added she would seek to bring in an investor willing to help renovate the decaying building to its historic specifications in exchange for a cut of the proceeds from the marijuana sales.
Inside rendering (no piano for singalongs, though):
Pearce said she has agreements with historical consultants to ensure that any work done to the building preserves the old Jacob Wirth building, built in the 1860s for Jacob Wirth himself. The dispensary would have a “history timeline wall” inside about Wirth and his restaurant, she said, adding the name of the dispensary would be JW Tree Star – combining the brand name of her retail operations with an homage to Wirth.
Pearce said if she doesn’t win approval, she doubts anybody will pay to fix up the building, because nobody’s willing to invest without some guarantee of return