Just Salad on Highland Ave. is slated to open in late March/ Credit: Needham Observer

We’ve reported on them before, but where are they now? Here’s an update on six prominent properties around town.

Union Pharmacy 

Interior work on Union Pharmacy/ Credit: Needham Observer

Union Pharmacy, which will replace Harvey’s Hardware, is slated to open its third location in Needham Center by the middle of March. The internal buildout is complete and painting is nearly done. Owner Xiaoyan Qin said a sign maker is already working on a new sign, and a temporary one should go up next week. She said beside the finishing touches on the store itself, they will need to receive an occupancy permit and pass an inspection by the Board of Pharmacy. Upon passing inspection, Union will submit to insurance companies, and once it receives confirmation from two or three major companies, it will open its doors to the public. 

The Common Room

Installing the bar for The Common Room/ Credit: Scott McCourt

As of yesterday, The Common Room has a new bar. Other renovations and construction are underway and progress seems to be on track for a late February opening. Co-owner Scott McCourt said they are waiting for some furniture to arrive and for the basement keg room that will service a 12-tap system in the bar area to be completed. “We’re full steam ahead,” said McCourt. “My punch list is 120 items, it just takes that long to go through them all.” The restaurant has been approved for a liquor license contingent on the building and occupancy permit. Once it passes the final health inspection, The Common Room will be ready for business. 

Just Salad

Offering salads, warm bowls, wraps and soups, Just Salad is scheduled to open by the end of March at 669 Highland Ave., the former site of Three Squares restaurant. The Select Board approved their Common Victualler License at their meeting Tuesday night. Just Salad founder and CEO Nick Kenner said they are doing a full renovation of the interior. They are now hiring and he encourages anyone interested to email hr@justsalad.com

Former Bertucci’s restaurant 

The former Bertucci’s space at 1257 Highland Ave. continues to lie fallow despite steady interest from potential tenants. “We are seeing solid tenant demand and are cautiously optimistic that we will have leasing news to report in the first half of 2024,” said David Grossman, co-president of The Grossman Companies that owns the building owner affiliate. 

The former Muzi site at 557 Highland Ave.

One year and one month after receiving a special permit for construction of the 475,000 Highland Innovation Center, the Bulfinch Companies have yet to announce any plans regarding the site

Intended to attract a tenant or tenants from the life sciences industry, the site remains dormant while the sector works its way through a year that has seen at least 56 drug firms based in Massachusetts — or with operations here — either execute layoffs or close entirely.

The former Carter’s building/Avery Manor at 100-110 West St.

Welltower, the real estate investment trust that owns the property, has reportedly severed ties with its most recent operating partner, Balfour Senior Living, that had taken over in early 2022 from Welltower’s previous operating partner at this site, LCB Senior Living.

Welltower received a two-year extension on a special permit approved in 2020 to operate a 155-unit facility with 72 independent living apartment units, 55 regular assisted living units and 28 assisted living units. Nine of the 72 independent living apartment units would be required to be affordable.

That permit expires in June, possibly creating some incentive for a project at a building that’s been vacant since 2018.

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