WAKEFIELD — A building in the heart of the Square — once home to Lubie’s Jewelry, CVS and Santoro’s — could house any number of businesses if the Zoning Board of Appeals approves requests by the owner at a hearing set for Nov. 12.
Robert Santonelli, the principal behind 376-378 Main Street Realty Trust, has requested in his application to the ZBA to be allowed to conduct uses in the entire building “that may include a combination of retail/service establishment, office, bakery, restaurant and/or storage.”
According to Brian McGrail, Santonelli’s lawyer, his client’s intent is to get blanket uses approved for the building so he doesn’t have to keep going back to the ZBA if a tenant changes. In the Square, property owners must go before the ZBA in part because there is not enough parking dictated by the Zoning Bylaw for just about any use, including retail.
There apparently is space in the building’s basement, which would be the storage outlined in the trust’s application to the zoning board. There are three retail spaces on the ground floor.
A Dollar Tree store remains a “viable, strong option,” the Daily Item has been told, but as of Friday no agreement between the property owner and tenant had been finalized.
Santonelli has met with town officials, who would like some work done to the facade of the building. At a Chamber of Commerce breakfast earlier this month, Town Administrator Stephen P. Maio said traffic must return to the downtown shopping area and a dollar store might help achieve that end. He mentioned that years ago the town had bargain stores in the Square, including Woolworth’s and J.J. Newbury and they added to the business district’s appeal.
Maio told Chamber members that certain measures could boost the downtown’s viability, including cross-selling and having business hours more in tune with the times downtown restaurants are open. Other suggestions were increasing Main Street’s “walkability,” celebrating the visual arts, installing electric charging stations and making WiFi available to customers.
But first, the empty storefronts need to be filled.