[DISCLOSURE: The author is a member of the Planning Board]
A local dental group is proposing a full glam-up for a longtime Bedford Street commercial building that could transform it from a worn-out retail space into a modern-looking medical office.
Abington Dental Associates wants to move its practice across Route 18 into the 11,000 square foot building located at 714 Bedford Street, which has housed a number of businesses over the decades, but has sat vacant the past few years.
Representatives for the project appeared before the Planning Board Monday night to pitch the plan. The board did not take a final vote as the project first needs Conservation Commission approval. Board members were however generally positive in its comments, particularly praising the proposed exterior architectural design.
The current structure consists of two conjoined commercial spaces: a smaller single-story structure on the south side, and the larger ski chalet-style space to the north. The smaller section is no longer structurally sound and will be demolished and replaced with a new wing, according to the plan. The rest of the building will be fully renovated.
Brandon Freeman, CEO of Legacy Dental Services Organization, the dental practice’s parent group, told Abington News the new space will have room for a larger team and more patients.
“Its going to be a really nice space,” he said. “This will hopefully expand our ability to take care of the people of Abington and expand our footprint on the South Shore.”
Aside from Abington, Legacy Dental Services Organization also owns practices in Cohasset, Hanson, and South Weymouth. The company will be rebranding in January as Beyond Dental Health, Freeman said.
If approved, the project would also give a full overhaul to the site’s landscaping, parking area, and stormwater management system. The existing retention basin iin the northwest corner of the property is fully overgrown, the project’s engineers told the Planning Board Monday night. With the proposed new system, all storm water will be collected or directed towards a larger storm basin located in approximately the same area.
Conversation Commission approval is required because the back corner of the proposed parking lot and the retention basin are both located within 50 feet of a wetland. The existing parking area and retention basin are also currently within the 50-foot buffer; however state rules require commission review for any new work in environementally sensitive areas.
The proposal also received a thumbs up at the meeting from Fire Chief John Nuttall, who said the department has been concerned as the wooden-frame structure has increasingly fallen into disrepair.
The 714 Bedford Street location had been home to a number of retail businesses over the years including Lampworks, Eclectic Collection, The Other Side of Dempsey’s, and Regina’s Beauty Salon.
In 2019, a development group acquired the property, the commercial property next door, and an abutting residential home, and proposed building a three-story, self-storage facility on the site. The project was approved, but was dropped in the spring of 2020 as the pandemic hit.
OTHER PLANNING BOARD NEWS:
- By a 4-1 vote, the board approved a 4-unit townhouse complex at 380 Brockton Avenue.
- The board unanimously approved a plan to build a 22-foot-wide private road off Spruce Street that will serve as an access road for two new homes. The roadway, called Roslyn Street, was previously approved decades ago but never built.
- The board invited proponents of a new potential cannabis manufacturing and cultivation operation to propose language that would expand the town’s marijuana zoning district to include Chestnut Street. The board said it may also reconsider a zoning article that makes it easier to take enforcement action against developers who ignore approved site plans, and a second bylaw that updates rules governing the number of trees developers are required to replant post-construction