The latest Natick, Mass., business news:
Liquor store gets OK to move down street
The Natick package store soon-to-be-known as Fannon’s (changing from Austin’s Liquors too) got the got this Select Board’s approval this week to change its doing-business-as name and move about a mile down the road from 212 to 319 North Main St. The business has sold off its Austin’s chain, which is why it wants to go with the Fannon’s name instead.
This process went way more smoothly than the business’s bid earlier this year to move its location to 45 Worcester St. (Rte. 9 west, currently Bernie & Phyl’s) in anticipation of its lease at its current location expiring in January. The Board shot down the proposal, citing among other things a lack of public need for the business when there is another liquor store across the road (albeit, a divided highway).
Finding a spot in a town as dense as Natick and that has its fair share of liquor stores made finding a location challenging, said Austin’s/Fannon’s Michael Cimini.
The building into which the business will move was once a Kentucky Fried Chicken, though more recently a convenience store dubbed C Store.
While Fannon’s got the Select Board’s blessing, it also hopes to get that of the Natick Church of Christ, which owns two buildings—the church and a residence—across from the future Fannon’s space. A representative for the church shared concerns about people possibly parking on its property after buying items at the liquor store. People already do this after buying ice cream at the nearby Dairy Queen, and while that has been acceptable, the idea of people downing their nips in the lot would not be.
Fannon’s, which has a good track record in town in terms of lack of public complaints, pledged to use signage to help dissuade people from such behavior.
Neiman Marcus-turned-lab thiiis close
The owner of 330 Speen St., which seeks the Natick Planning Board’s approval to redevelop the former Neiman Marcus space into a life sciences lab, appears very close to getting its way. The “irreplaceable” property changed hands early this year, paving the way for new uses.
The topic has been on more than a dozen Planning Board agendas since May (still not sure they’ve ever spelled Neiman Marcus correctly on any of them…admittedly, a tricky one).
A group of condo residents next door to the space has raised safety concerns throughout the process, including at Town Meeting. Proponents have assured the town there’s nothing to worry about with the level of labs that would be going in.
A lawyer for the residents requested at the Nov. 9 Planning Board meeting (discussion on 330 Speen starts at about the 34-minute mark of the Natick Pegasus recording) just a bit more time in order to reviewing the latest Biological Safety Regulation draft from the Natick Board of Health. The attorney wanted to make sure that Planning would have all the information it needs to apply to any conditions of the permit. (For those of you interested in the Board of Health’s draft… unfortunately its meetings are not made easily accessible to the public via recordings (it’s catch ’em live or you’re stuck reading the minutes when they come out).
Planning Board Chair Andy Meyer concluded that board members really don’t have much in the way of remaining questions they want answered. Board Member Doug Landry commented that “I think we could go through every one of these items all night long for the next 6 months and start to get really specific about really in-the-weeds kind of things. Where a planning board decision needs to make broad strokes about land use, site plan review, and general things that ought to be considered by other boards and other standards that we don’t have control of. I feel this decision is exactly where it needs to be on all that… This language is flexible enough to have the professionals who are going to be empowered by this decision to scope out the studies. We don’t need to go any further than this.”
Nevertheless, the Planning Board agreed to continue the discussion at its Nov. 22 meeting, making this the first order of business that night.
Once the Planning Board presumably okays the permit, and the lab space is occupied, the board would plan to have a public check-in meeting a year later to see how things are going.
Allurion cracks Deloitte Technology Fast 500 list
Allurion Technologies, a Natick-based life sciences firm at 11 Huron Dr., focused on obliterating obesity, is touting its inclusion at #318 of the Deloitte Technology Fast 500 list of fastest growing tech firms in North America. The company, born in 2009, grew some 444% from 2018 to 2021.
Companies included must have base-year operating revenues of at least $50,000, and current-year operating revenues of at least $5 million. They must be in business for at least 4 years.