A Sanctuary Cafe Logo with botanical border

Now Opening February 2024

November 3, 2023| Issue 8

A view of the progress on the lower level, where the staircase and most walls have remained the same and the flooring, paint color and new ceiling plaster are pending.

Hello Friends,

As you can see from the photo above, our space at 80 Charles Street is still very much a work in progress. The good news is that we continue to make headway towards opening, but the less-good-news is that we’ve experienced multiple construction delays this summer and fall, particularly relating to the HVAC system and lift. We try to be glass-half-full people, but it’s been tough to reconcile ourselves to our new projected opening date of February 2024.

We know this will be disappointing for many people who hoped to visit the cafe this year, but we also believe you will share our commitment to creating the best possible space for the cats to live (and for you to visit!). This will include giving the cats plenty of time to get used to their new home and develop good relationships with each other and staff before we open to the public.

We can’t make people work any faster than they’re already working (we are extremely grateful to be working with a core team of such creative, hardworking people!), but we can offer a fun surprise later i this newsletter, with more details to follow in the next newsletter.

In our last newsletter, we talked about why upgrading to a split HVAC system and adding an ADA-compliant lift were so important to us. Here is the latest on those projects:

Lift Installation Update

The lift shaft’s exciting transformation has continued, including a partial installation of the lift itself.

Sparks fly as the steel beams supporting the lift shaft are shaved down in preparation for the lift’s installation.

We were slightly terrified to witness the sparks flying off the steel support beams as they were carefully shaved down to meet the lift shaft’s precise dimensional requirements, but were (mostly) reassured when everyone else was extremely professional and calm during this stage in the process.

The lift shaft’s walls have been plastered and the lift equipment installation is in progress, with assorted tools on the floor of the lift.

Once the final dimensions of the lift shaft were confirmed, the walls were plastered and Garaventa arrived to begin installation of the lift equipment. We hope to have a completed lift that is ready for inspection very soon.

HVAC Challenges Have Continued (But We’re Nearly There)

Maybe it’s a good thing we didn’t know how insanely complicated this was going to be? Our Beacon Hill space is so tight that New England Cooling Towers fabricated custom ducts that could fit into our limited ceiling space without compromising the system’s capabilities (or dramatically lowering the ceiling).

A crane outside 80 Charles Street lifts an AC condenser unit onto the roof.

To the delight of many children waiting for a Friday morning school bus, we had to rent a crane to get the HVAC system’s new AC condenser up to the roof.

A corner of the unfinished space at 80 Charles stores several ducts and duct-making materials.

Part of the space became a temporary workshop to create and store the variety of custom ductwork required to complete this part of the project.

A view of the ceiling tightly packed with new HVAC ductwork.

The HVAC technicians maximized the space above the ceiling, including the duct on the right, which actually changes shape twice to fit around existing conditions.

We know we also said this at the end of the last newsletter’s construction update, but it’s still true: once the ceiling is plastered, we can really get moving!

Currently Reading: Spooky Edition

Tuesday Mooney Talks to Ghosts by Kate Racculia

The book cover of Tuesday Mooney Talks to Ghosts by Kate Racculia. The cover is dark blue and shows a woman running in the center with a cityscape in concentric circles around her.

The United States of Cryptids: A Tour of American Myths and Monsters by J. W. Ocker

The book cover for the United States of Cryptids by J. W. Ocker. The cover is black with green vines and cryptids arms reaching around the title.

Finch House by Ciera Burch

The book cover for Finch House by Ciera Burch. It shows a boy and girl staring at each other with a spooky Victorian house behind them.
Visit Our Bookshop.org Storefront!
Kampbell the cat looks out the window at a fall day. Kampbell is a short-haired, black and white cat and there is a giant resin mushroom next to him on the window sill.

Kampbell + Giant Mushroom +

Cat Friend = Good Times

(I.e., The Obligatory Kampbell Photo Essay)

While we wait for the space to be finished, we continue to field test various things for the cat lounge. One recent find from Upstairs Downstairs: a giant mushroom (it’s made out of resin!).

Step One: Try the Mushroom in a New, Novel Location

At first, Kampbell was more interested in watching the street scene than interacting with the giant mushroom next to him, but once toys were dangled off the top he switched over to the toys (with impressive chomping).

Kampbell the cat bites a string toy dangling off the top of the giant resin mushroom.
Kampbell the cat sniffs a butterfly toy resting on top of the giant resin mushroom.

Step Two: Add a Friend

After the mushroom was moved from the window sill to the cat tree, Kampbell was joined by an extremely curious feline friend. Meet Gryffindor, who lives with the owner and will be commuting with her to the cat cafe every day! (More about him in the next newsletter.)

Kampbell the cat and Gryffindor the cat sit on different levels of a cat tree and look at the giant resin mushroom. Gryffindor is a large, fluffy brown tabby.
Gryffindor the cat sits underneath the giant resin mushroom and looks off into the distance.

Step Three: Rest

Finally, a well-deserved rest. Kampbell and Gryffindor are already great friends, and they love to sleep and play together.

Gryffindor the cat and Kampbell the cat both lying down with Kampbell curled up against Gryffindor’s fluffy belly.
Gryffindor the cat and Kampbell the cat are sleeping next to each other with Gryffindor’s paw draped across Kampbell.

No cats were harmed or inconvenienced in the taking of these photos, with window gazing and play breaks enthusiastically supported. Their decision to take a peaceful nap together post-mushroom suggests that Kampbell and Gryffindor had a positive experience.

Newsletter Archives

Kampbell the cat looks up from between a tablecloth and the arm of a chair.

In Our Next Newsletter

  • More about Gryffindor
  • More construction updates

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A Sanctuary Cafe logo with book, cat and coffee pot