Our round-up of the latest Wellesley, Mass., business news:
Rte. 9 Bio labs plan moves forward
The Wellesley Planning Board this week approved a special permit for Beacon Capital Partners , which plans to convert office space to bio labs at 93 Worcester St. (aka, Wellesley Gateway). The permit includes a dozen conditions that define and restrict the permit in various ways.
The project of significant impact has received scrutiny from neighbors and board members, mainly regarding safety and issues such as emergency reporting protocols. The project has raised the specter of Wellesley creating some sort of biosafety oversight group or rules specific to this business use in town, as many other communities have in light of a bio labs boom in the burbs. We’ll see if something like that gets done before Beacon Capital comes knocking on the town’s door again, perhaps with plans for its recently obtained Park 9 complex across the road from Wellesley Gateway.
Wellesley Gateway neighbor Diane Soderholm, speaking at the July 11 Planning Board meeting, said there are 90 cities and towns in the state that have regulations regarding labs (discussion on this topic starts a bit after an hour into Wellesley Media recording). “The neighbors continue to be concerned, especially since a BSL-2 Lab doesn’t necessarily stay a BSL-2 lab, it can turn into a BSL-3 or 4…,” she said, referring to labs that handle higher-risk microbes. Planning Chair Jim Roberti assured that the Board approval would include a condition to limit labs to BSL-1 or 2.
There is some thinking that a glut of such space may already be forming, but that has not stopped developers from pitching such conversions, including nearby at Natick Mall.
While the building owner has jumped another hurdle in the town approval process, more scrutiny will be in store for the actual tenants signed on to take the lab space. That’s when we’ll learn about the biosafety levels of the labs required and the work to be done by the firms.
M&T Bank arrives
Settle down, settle down. Yes, there’s now another bank in town, but it’s simply a name change for People’s United Bank in Linden Square due to M&T Bank’s $8.3B buyout of the former earlier this year. M&T is now going through town channels to get its signs approved. Buffalo-based M&T boasts 22,000 employees and a network of more than 1,000 branches and 2,200 ATMs across a dozen states.
The company’s expansion into Massachusetts will include rebranding the People’s banks as M&T, and a commitment to involvement in local events, such as the Pan-Mass Challenge.
Douglas Elliman coming to Wellesley Square
We know this is almost too much excitement for one Business Buzz column, but in addition to a new bank in town, a real estate firm is filling a Wellesley Square storefront. Douglas Elliman, a fancy Madison Avenue-based company, will take over the former Cambridge Trust space (which was Wellesley Bank for over 100 years before that).
The Douglas Elliman website says they have “unrivaled reach and expertise” and “leading knowedge [sic] and experience” across all areas of real estate.
Elliman operates out of approximately 115 offices in New York City, Long Island, The Hamptons & North Fork, Westchester, the Hudson Valley, Connecticut, New Jersey, Florida, California, Colorado, Massachusetts, Texas and Nevada.
Tyed with Love closing Linden Square shop
The colorful Tyed with Love shop in Linden Square has announced it is closing, but also says “it’s not goodbye, it see you soon.” The provider of tie-dye everything, including birthday parties and other events, opened eight months ago in Wellesley.
The business vows to open another shop at a time and location to be determined.
Businesses coming or going or changing? Let us know: firstname.lastname@example.org