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Finnerty's Site Developers Discuss Plans with Design Review Board

Plans for the site remain in early stages, but Wayland's Design Review Board asked questions last week.

It's been years since the old Finnerty's site at the corner of West Plain and Main Street bustled with customers, but a new life for the old site is beginning to take shape.

On Thursday night, members of Wayland's newly formed Design Review Board met with Jesse Adelman and Matt Levy, the last year, and other representatives for the developers.

Thursday's meeting was a time for DRB members to ask questions of Levy, Adelman, their lawyer and engineer. The board is advisory only, and exists to "assist property owners and developers with the design process and issue an advisory opinion to the town boards based on the Wayland Design Guidelines to enhance, protect and promote development consistent with Wayland's Master Plan."

The project intended for that Cochituate corner is now comprised of the parcels at 150 and 160 Main Street as well as 9 and 11 Hammond Road, which will be combined to form a single mixed use retail and office development, with CVS on-board to serve as the corner tenant.

The developers have been in discussions with CVS for some time, explained lawyer Ann Sobolewski, and the drugstore chain has agreed to construct a 10,880 square foot building, significantly smaller than CVS' typical store of at least 13,000 square feet. The store would be built in a colonial style in order to remain consistent with the feel of the building that has been on that corner for decades.

“Everybody seems to like the way Finnerty’s looked for 30-odd years,” said Phil Henry, an engineer on the project.

Sobolewski explained that the entire development is intended to be pedestrian friendly and that the developers have begun to look at traffic issues and safety.

In addition to the CVS building on the corner, a second structure, this one two stories, is proposed for further down West Plain -- closer to the Cochituate ball field.

This building would house office space on the top floor and, as currently proposed, a sit-down restaurant with seasonal outdoor dining, an ice cream shop, a bakery and retail space on the first floor. The specific tenants are yet to be determined, and DRB member Kathy Schreiber suggested the developers consider some different types of businesses given the products and services already operating in town.

She specifically pointed out that Frozen Yogurt Innovations recently opened across the street from the Finnerty's property. "It's a wonderful new business in town," Schreiber said. "I'd hate to think that there could be competition [across the street]."

The site proposal adheres to the Design Guidelines, but DRB members were uncomfortable with locating CVS' pharmacy drive-through on the corner of the property -- the most visible portion of the site.

“The drive-through on this corner is completely contradictory to everything you’re trying to do,” Schreiber said. “I'd love you to reconsider the orientation on this corner."

According to the development team, CVS insists on having a pharmacy drive-through, though the development team said it was open to suggestions as far as how to better orient the building. That said, CVS also has specific requirements for where the entrance to the store is located in relation to parking and the pharmacy.

“We’re open to suggestions," Adelman told the board. "I promise that’s not where we wanted to deliver the drive-through. We’ve had some wins along the way. We’ve gotten them to invest significant money in the look of the building.”

Wayland's available parking requirements significantly restricted the placement of the buildings on the site, the developers explained.

Town Planner Sarkis Sarkisian said Wayland's parking regulation is probably one of the highest in Metrowest, but a possible solution could be taking advantage of the parking available diagonally across the intersection. He said Wayland's zoning bylaw allows for businesses to use parking that is available within 300 yards.

Reduced parking requirements on the Finnerty's site could allow for a different orientation of the buildings and, most importantly for the DRB, the CVS drive-through.

"You know, the Finnerty’s has been a very popular building for years," said DRB chair Bill Sterling. "Our feeling was, it’s OK to tear it down as long as you replace it with something nicer.

"We’re here really just to help you with positive encouragement," Sterling continued. "I’ve been on the other side of the table. I hope you’re as open-minded as I was forced to be. I don’t want to come on as a design czar."

Developers will meet again with the Design Review Board on July 26 at 6:30 p.m.

Kenneth Lewis July 16, 2012 at 12:38 PM
Wow. Does that suggest that if I opened a small business in Wayland that I would be granted a veritable monopoly over a given location for my goods or services. How silly that I though that competition was a good thing.
Cynthia Hill July 16, 2012 at 04:59 PM
Hooray DRB...I'm having a rough time trying to figure out how this once charming town now looks the way it does.....made up of spare parts! The CVS on Rt 20 looks like the "Taj Mahal", and is being dwarfed by the enormous Town Center. Folks, this is Wayland, not a city that needs all this building. It would be one thing if any of it were attractive, but no. it's all commercial looking and very ugly!. Let's not look like Rt.9, we're a little town! BTW, since when does CVS tell this town anything ~ it should be an honor to build here. Cynthia Hill,taxpayer not speaking as a member of the BoH
Donnie Gladu July 16, 2012 at 10:36 PM
Build it and build it bigger. Ice cream or yogurt or CVS why are you trying to stop things from happening ? Let it happen and let it happen soon. The old building is falling down so it's time to bring on new things in town.
Richard Kommit July 17, 2012 at 05:49 PM
competition generally is a good thing, however in this case, Wayland doesnt need two of the exact businesses across the street from one another and isn't this a great opportunity in this town of so little commercial space to offer residents different business choices.
Rich R. July 17, 2012 at 06:27 PM
While I do not totally agree with Cynthia Hill who writes above, her point is well taken that we are talking about Wayland, not Rt. 9. On the other hand, Wayland DOES need more commerce and that should be encouraged. Mr. Lewis' point about competition (also written above), while true in the grand scheme of things, would probably be best held at bay in this instance to allow Wayland's "quaintness" to remain. I think it would be in the interest of all to have a more select variety in the businesses that come to town. We don't need countless pizza shops, ice cream/yogurt parlors, coffee shops, and the like - but we would all benefit from one of each. Once Wayland has multiples of everything, it'll be no different than Route 9.
Joe S. July 17, 2012 at 09:35 PM
I'd like to see a butcher and a cheese shop.
Jesse Adelman July 17, 2012 at 09:51 PM
As Wayland residents ourselves, we want to construct attractive buildings. We worked pretty hard on the design and did adhere to the aesthetic guidelines drawn out in the DRB governing document. We are planning to have one or two public open houses and will share more renderings but at that point but I wanted to attach a few so folks can get an idea. Best, Jesse Adelman Mathew Levy
Pam Grant July 23, 2012 at 02:50 PM
This blows me away! Too big, Too Much, not needed. It will ruin Cochituate and the surrounding neighborhoods. The traffic at the intersection is already more than it should be. Adding a monster build like this will put our kids at risk and defeat the atmosphere. What is nice about this area of town is it is neighborhood friendly. Kids can walk to friends houses in a safe environment. Kids from North Wayland love to come and visit with their south Wayland friends because of the neighborhoods. The increased traffic will put children at the ball field across the street in danger. The ball field is used by all in town and we are certainly short of playing fields. The traffic this will bring! We recently lost a neighbor who was in the cross walk (Struck and killed) right at this location. This build makes absolutely no sense, and does not conform to what we love and try to protect in Wayland. This ruins the charm. My question...As residents why would we want this? And how do we fight it?
WaylandRes July 23, 2012 at 03:57 PM
My family and I recently walked around Lexington Center. What a nice center they have! There was an ice cream shop and frozen yogurt shop both within walking distance from each other. People were sitting outside Bertucci's and on sidewalk benches enjoying the beautiful day. My husband and I commented how Wayland definitely doesn't have any of these nice things. FYI yogurt shop doesn't have adequate seating inside AND one bench outside is not enough for people to enjoy the day. Once you buy your yogurt, you feel like you have to jump back into your car because they don't have any seating. Wayland definitely needs more commercial revenue. Our taxes are too high and we get nothing from paying our taxes! We need a nice place to walk around and enjoy the town with its unique shops. I think a smaller CVS would be a nice addition to the corner of Finnertys...although I wish we had a nice butcher shop, bakery, and a nice gourmet takout place. I don't like restaurant chains and there are too many in our area (Framingham and Natick).
Brooklyn Lowery (Editor) July 23, 2012 at 04:06 PM
These are great comments, Everyone. Thanks for weighing in. As I find out more about the other business hopes for that corner, I'll certainly keep you posted. Right now, it's mainly categories of businesses -- "a sit-down restaurant with seasonal outdoor dining, an ice cream shop, a bakery and retail space on the first floor." That said, I know the developers (Jesse and Matt, who commented above) are still interested in hearing what people would like to see there, so keep the thoughts and suggestions coming!
Sabine von Mering July 23, 2012 at 07:55 PM
What I would really like to know is why a town like Wayland needs two drive-through CVS? What's wrong about getting out of your car for a minute or two? How many people who will bother to the CVS in this location are in such a hurry that they cannot afford to get out of their car? And if getting out of their car is difficult, what's wrong with driving 8 minutes more to get to the existing drive-thru CVS? We also have a Rite Aid next to Donelans, so I don't see the need for another CVS at all. If we want to be supportive of small businesses, then why do we bring in a giant like CVS? What we urgently need are more GOOD (!) sit-down restaurants of all persuasions, ideally with a nice little outside patio to sit on in the summer. I love the idea of a bakery on that corner, too. But PLEASE change your mind about CVS. We don't need it here and it does not create any kind of community whatsoever.
Cynthia Hill July 23, 2012 at 08:34 PM
As far as I know, the new Town Center has nothing but chain restaurants. I'm all for growth, but at what cost? Does anyone really think this Finnerty's project will lower your taxes a dime? Please take a look at Weston, Wellesley, Concord and Lexington....then look at Wayland and Sudbury, not much to be proud of business-wise.
CPR July 23, 2012 at 10:55 PM
Why does anyone think that an ice cream shop is competition for a yogurt shop? Yes, they're both frozen, but that's where the similarities end. Driving past Finnerty's for the last 7 years has been depressing - it'd be great to do SOMETHING with the site, and whether it's a CVS, a restaurant, a butchery, a bakery (a candle-stick makery) or all of the above, it's better than what we have now. Don't play the "taxes" card, 'cause you'll just get uninformed arguments from both sides that don't mean a hill of beans. It's about time the Town Center is being built, and having a small development on the south side of town would be a welcome addition. Seems like no matter what this town tries to do that involves progress, there's always a flock of NIMBY nay-sayers that find reasons why it's "counter Wayland". If you build it, they will come.
Jeff Baron July 27, 2012 at 11:09 AM
Comments here are so interesting! What people fail to understand is that the folks who bought this site are not a charitable operation. The CVS anchor tenant in a development like this allow for all the smaller shops to exist because CVS can afford the type of rent and longevity of lease that these little ones cannot. So, if you love an old building that is an eyesore with no practical use to the town, keep on complaining. If you want Wayland to move forward and actually provide useful services/offering to its residents, then support these guys. Thanks Jesse and Matt for taking on this project and helping Wayland become better for all of us. There will always be NIMBYs/complainers, but the majority of residents are with you.
LeeAnn Yolin July 29, 2012 at 07:19 PM
I appreciate the development and improvement of the Finnerty's site, which currently contributes nothing to the community and is an eyesore and potential hazard. I also appreciate the traditional design of the proposed buildings. I am eager to see this site improved for the use and enjoyment of the community. LeeAnn Yolin
Enrique de los Reyes July 30, 2012 at 01:43 PM
This sounds like it is a good project for Wayland and the developers appear to be opened and reasonable about what they are proposing, how refreshing to see that these days! As far as the drive-through, I agree that most people should be parking and walking in, but last Thursday I used the drive through at the CVS on Rte. 20 for the first time and I sure was glad they had it - I had just had oral surgery, had to drop off a prescription, and using the drive-through allowed me to get home a few minutes earlier and saved me from having to walk through the store when I was in so much discomfort. I can see how the drive through would be a big help for the elderly or people with handicaps. While I don't intend to use it again in the foreseeable future, I sure hope that the drive through is allowed at this new CVS location. In any case, I cannot understand opposition to the drive-through since it is so rarely used (I don't think I have ever driven by the CVS on Rte. 20 and seen anyone at the drive through) that it should not pose any problems.
Paul C August 01, 2012 at 06:59 PM
Multiple times a day, every day, my eyes have the displeasure of seeing the long abandoned street corner that was once Finnerty's. As time has gone on I have become more upset and surprised that this pristine real estate has been neglected, only for it's parking lot to be used as a speed trap. The proposed plan would be a great investment for our community as Wayland can use more businesses. If this plan is not approved, what will be the fate of this property? Will the residents of Wayland have to slowly watch as Finnerty's continues to crumble to the ground. This site is hindering Wayland's potential, as the town has been upkeeping with new roads and new buildings, this building remains as it was decades ago. I am all for this plan and excited for this corner to receive the make over that it so desperately needs.
John Taxiarchis August 09, 2012 at 12:10 PM
Jeff's comments are spot on. I, as a resident of West Plain, am concerned about all of the things mentioned here: traffic, flow, redundancy. That being said, as it stands now the space is a parking lot. It would be beneficial to the village to have more businesses that serve the community. Further, I think its important to point out that the developers are not some nameless corporation: they are two residents of our town that have roots here and are raising families here. They will be infinitely better landlords and more open to community concerns than any other landlord would be. For that reason I support them and hope that things will move forward.
Tracy Ross September 05, 2012 at 10:03 PM
I think that Wayland needs something like this. The building is in keeping with the quaint look of town. We are always looking for local dining as a family and there are so few options, it would be nice to have somewhere to go. It would also be great for the kids to have a place to go so they're not sitting right on route 27 as some of the other locations now have it
Sharon Burke September 15, 2012 at 04:50 PM
I am all for utilizing whatever little commercial property space Wayland has for development, but I have a problem with a couple of things with these developers and CVS. Initially, the developers seemed very eager to please residents and listen to suggestions, but then quickly retreated once the DRB had made their recommendations. How lucky Wayland residents are to have such a thoughtful and qualified board looking out for our best interests! Also, CVS has in fact built other buildings that have matched the architecture of existing neighborhoods. Why can't they do that here? Are the developers scared of making too many demands of CVS, so they are backing off on this? It seems to me, the residents who live near the proposed project are in fact very open to development - even of a CVS that is not needed - but would like some modifications made to the plan, so it blends into the neighborhood better and isn't a hazard to walkers. Hey developers, don't be scared of CVS - they need you more than you need them - make your demands on what this project should look like, and fight for your fellow Waylanders who are in favor of commercial development, but done in the right way.
Do the right thing October 08, 2012 at 01:52 PM
The parcel is perfect for one or two soccer fields. Location couldn't be any better either.
Ali S November 03, 2012 at 12:00 AM
Seems like the speculators who bought this property have lots of friends who probably do not live in the village and probably won't have to deal with the traffic but just maybe one of these friends will suffer cardiac arrest or be involved in a car accident or choke on some food in the new restaurant ant the traffic will prevent the emts from getting to that friend in time!
MJN March 05, 2013 at 09:21 PM
Matt & Jesse or anyone else interested in an investment/franchise opportunity - something like a neighborhood butcher (The Meat House: http://www.themeathouse.com/Home.aspx) would be perfect in Wayland...got the surrounding towns of Weston/Wellesley/Natick and certainly the traffic flow around Rt 30/Rt 20 to sustain a great upscale retail shop like this!!

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