The Boston Globe | By John Hilliard
March 25, 2017
NEWTON — A national company that operates senior living communities is asking city councilors for permission to build a four-story assisted living facility at the site of a vacant Newton Corner car dealership overlooking the Massachusetts Turnpike.
Sunrise Senior Living, based in McLean, Va., has proposed an 85-unit, nearly 71,400-square-foot complex for the corner of Washington and Hovey streets. The company owns or operates more than 300 locations nationwide, including a dozen in Massachusetts.
In its project filings, Sunrise said that typically 70 percent of residents come from within 5 miles of the location of one of its facilities.
“Newton is at the top of our list of markets that have a significant amount of seniors and caregivers and a significant lack of units to serve the community,” said Philip Kroskin, vice president of real estate for Sunrise.
Neighborhood meetings were held in January and March, and a public hearing on the project is scheduled for April 4.
Stephen J. Buchbinder, a local attorney representing the company, said he hopes the City Council will vote on the special permit application as early as June or July. Construction could take about 16 months, he said.
The Washington Street property is the former home of Clay Nissan, which closed its doors in Newton earlier this year. The property is still owned by a limited liability company controlled by members of the Clay family, and Kroskin said that Sunrise will enter into a long-term lease agreement with the property owners.
The City Council would need to approve a special permit that would rezone part of the property, including the dealership’s parking lot, from residential to business use, according to project filings. The existing car dealership building on Washington Street is already zoned for business use.