From groceries to little kids: the old Harvest Co-Op building on South Street will be empty no more come September.
Joana Araujo, director of the Pine Village Preschool, confirmed to Jamaica Plain News that the school will be moving its classrooms at the First Baptist Church (633 Centre St.) to a roomier space at the former Harvest Co-Op location at 57 South St.
Pine Village Preschool (PVP) is a Spanish Language Immersion school for toddlers and preschoolers with two locations in Jamaica Plain, with the second in St John’s Episcopal Church on Revere Street.
“Our Mission is to educate and nurture each child’s individuality within a culturally diverse, bilingual community so that every child develops a true passion for learning and an ability to engage in any environment and community,” says the school’s website.
Araujo, originally from the Azores, immigrated to the United Sates 14 years ago. She speaks three languages and started as a teacher with the school and has been its director since it moved into the First Baptist Church in 2012.
The Centre Street school currently has 52 students ranging in age from 15 months to 5 years of age.
Harvest Co-Op announced in January 2015 it would close the South Street location, citing intense competition from Whole Foods in Hyde Square, among other factors.
The company that marketed the property had advertised it as ideal for retail or restaurants. Initial reaction on social media was decidedly mixed. In response to the news, one commenter on the Jamaica Plain News Facebook page said, “I adore that preschool. I abhor storefronts used for preschools. Kills the vibrant street life of a previously day/night neighborhood hub. Sigh.”
The prime property at the corner of South and Custer streets has been among the most-discussed in the neighborhood in terms of what residents would like to see there. Restaurants, a small grocery store, maybe a diner all seemed to have word-of-mouth support.
The preschool will likely need to clear city red tape to open its doors in the new location. That’s because, at least according to online zoning maps, the parcel is zoned for “local convenience,” defined as “commercial/retail/shopping serving the immediate area.”