GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

October 2, 2013

Rockport pharmacy plans won't be filled

By James Niedzinski
Staff Writer

---- — ROCKPORT — An economic development prescription calling for a new pharmacy along Main Street has essentially expired, with the applicants bowing out for financial reasons and the owners of Blue Gate Gardens now in talks with new prospective buyers.

Sandy Bay Apothecary proponents Nenad and Amber Bazdar had agreed to build a small, independent pharmacy at the Blue Gate Gardens site, owned by John and Diane Wonson, and the two had been given green lights from the Planning Board and the Board of Appeals, while Town Meeting backed an easement for the property, as well.

Amber Bazdar said the couple had enough capital to demolish the current garden building and build the new pharmacy, but they could not show sufficient contingency funds if a problem with paving, for example, put them over budget.

“We didn’t back out ... we just needed extra capital,” Amber Bazdar said Tuesday, adding that banks were hesitant to loan more in contingency money to the construction project.

“We had everything planned out according to the estimates we got,” Bazdar said. “If anything went over, we wouldn’t have any extra funds.”

Bazdar said the purchase-and-sale agreement with the Wonsons expired soon after the fall Town Meeting last month. The two sides were still trying to work out deals with investors to get the pharmacy project underway until new prospective buyers entered the picture.

John Wonson said Tuesday that the agreement was terminated and that he was not given a reason by the Bazdars. He said he was disappointed the pharmacy would not be constructed on his Main Street property.

Wonson had previously told the Times he liked the pharmacy idea because it would have benefited the town. Others, he said, had offered to buy the Wonsons’ land in the past. The nursery has been family-operated for 36 years.

Wonson confirmed that he is in talks with another party in buying the property, but he would not comment on what company or person is interested in the site.

As for the pharmacy, Bazdar said the two still have hopes there will be a home for it in Rockport; Nenad formerly worked as a pharmacist at Rite Aid, in the nearby Whistlestop Mall.

The pharmacy, which would have also sold medical equipment, would have measured about 2,000 square feet on the first floor and 1,000 square feet on the second. It had been designed to look like a house, in an effort to fit it in with the rest of Main Street.

Amber Bazdar said the site was an ideal one for a pharmacy, and the two hope anyone buying the Main Street plot will be able to lease to them. She added, however, that she and her husband are looking into other options, as well.

“We believe in the project and the town does, too,” Bazdar said, pointing toward the positive Town Meeting comments. “We have poured our heart and soul into this project.”

James Niedzinski can be reached at 978-283-7000, x 3455 or at jniedzinski@gloucestertimes.com.