Where pots of annuals and perennials, along with shrubs, trees and cut flowers were once sold on north Main Street, a facility for frail elders with memory impairments may grow, at the old Eric’s Plant Emporium location.
Artis Senior Living proposes to build a 64-unit facility at 1090-1100 Main St. for elders who need help with activities of daily living, such as dressing and eating, consultant for Artis Patrick Mallon told Patch yesterday.
Artis would need a special permit from the Zoning Board of Appeals to extend a non-conforming zoning use, according to Town Planner and Community Services Director Jean Delios.
Artis would also need approval from the town’s Conservation Commission, according to the town’s Development Review Team, because the site contains wetlands. The team comprises heads of town departments, including planning, police, fire and engineering.
According to local demographics, there is a need for this kind of facility in Reading, Mallon told Patch, not only for seniors, but also for their caregivers. In addition to being a consultant for Artis, Mallon is also president of Buildable Sites, LLC.
Depending on the permitting, ground could be broken for the new facility by the end of this year, Mallon said, or by the spring of 2014.
Facility rates would be competitive, Mallon said. They have not been set, he noted.
For almost a quarter of a century, Tom Goddard has owned the Main Street property, according to Lisa Greene who, almost a year ago, in March of 2012, as an Eric's employee, offered Patch readers gardening tips. Yes, a man named Eric originally owned the business, Greene said.
Anticipating that Artis would receive the necessary permits, Goddard temporarily moved his Reading plant business to his Westford location, Mallon told Patch. If Artis fails to receive those approvals, Mallon said Goddard would reopen the Reading site.
The only contact information Patch received for Goddard was a post office address.
The florist part of the business remains in Reading, but in a new location: near the train station, at 10 Brande Court, with a new owner Rachel O’Neil. O’Neil’s first job, she told Patch yesterday, was at Eric’s, working for Goddard. The Flower Shoppe of Eric’s is located in part of the space formerly occupied by RBM Interiors. The flower shop phone number remains the same as it was on Main Street: 781-944-0547.
Artis Senior Living is a new company, Mallon said, based in McLean, VA. It is the third health care company started since the late 1950’s by the Bainum family which, owns Choice Hotels, he said.
The Artis proposal will be on the agenda of the Board of Appeals at its next meeting, Delios said, on March 7. The company has not applied to either the Conservation Commission or the Community Planning and Development Commission yet. The applicant needs to resolve the zoning issues first, Delios said.