Select Board logoSwifty Printing owner confirms pot company has inquired for two years.

UPDATED, March 12: The company that opened a medical-marijuana dispensary on Water Street last October is seeking to also open Arlington's first shop selling recreational marijuana.

If plans pass town and state requirements, both establishments would be situated at the 1386 Mass. Ave., in the Heights, where Swifty Printing has been for years.

The Select Board has on its agenda for Monday, March 11, discussion of these plans with Apothca, Inc., formerly known as the Massachusetts Patient Foundation, Inc.

Town Manager Adam Chapdelaine and Town Counsel Douglas Heim aim to discuss the authorization to execute a revised host agreement and provide a letter of nonopposition. A vote could occur but is not expected.

David Wooldridge, the owner of Swifty Printing, confirmed in a March 8 phone call that reps, including Daniel Karton of the Massachusetts Patient Foundation, had spoken with him over a two-year period. Wooldridge, who had operated Data Print in Woburn, bought Swifty from Charles Pappas in September 2017.

Looking at two town locations

Wooldridge said he was looking at two Arlington locations, but was not moving ahead until the Apothca's dealings with the town and state conclude. He said he expected a further meeting following Monday's session.

At least two large locations are available in town -- the former Balich 5 & 10, just down the street, which closed last June, and the former A&A Deli in Brattle Square, which closed last December.

Under the proposed host agreement, the Fitchburg-based operator of the shops shall pay to town 3 percent of the gross revenue received from retail sales.

The initial payment to the town is to be made on the first day of the seventh month after sales begin and shall reflect gross revenue for the first quarter of sales. Thereafter, payments are to be made every six months and shall reflect the subsequent six month's sales, with the final three-month payment remaining unpaid until three months after the termination of the agreement.

If the town and Apothca reach agreement, the company intends to seek approval from the appropriate state regulatory authority to move its operation from 11 Water St., Suite 3B, to the new location and operate both shops from the new site.

The proposed agreement calls for Apothca to work with the Arlington Police Department in determining the placement of exterior security cameras, so at least two cameras are situated to provide an unobstructed view in each direction of the public ways on which the shop is located.

The accord asks for the business to maintain a cooperative relationship with the Arlington Police Department, including periodic meetings to review operational concerns, cooperation in investigations and communication about any suspicious activities on the site.

Except for senior management positions, Apothca is asked to hire local, qualified employees to the extent consistent with law.

Former Swifty owners comment

Chuck Pappas, who had owned Swifty's since the 1980s, confirmed that Wooldridge owns the building and the printing business.

As to the Bank of America ATM adjoining Swifty's, Pappas wrote that, under federal law, a bank cannot operate there next to a marijuana shop.

"My guess is the ATM would move" to a property in the block owned by Bierbrier Development.  "He always wanted them as a tenant," Pappas wrote, referring to owner Len Bierbrier of Lexington.

Pappas wrote that the ATM was "one issue with the pot people when they were looking at it when I owned the property. Bierbrier was willing to find space for the ATM."

When he sold the building, he wrote, the ATM lease was in place is until Feb. 28, 2022, with options to renew, but either party could cancel the options with notice.

Town assessors’ records identify owner of the 1386 Mass. Ave. as B&G Corset Co. LLC, which bought it from Nancy and Charles Pappas on Sept. 29, 2017. The sale price is listed as $930,000.

B&G is the Wooldridge family’s real estate holding company, Pappas explained. His property for his other shop, Dataprint in Woburn, is listed as the address on closing documents.

Nancy Pappas, Charles's spouse, wrote to YourArlington: "FYI, if I still operated Swifty in the Heights, I would never have allowed a marijuana shop to move in. Where would Dave put it? Would he evict the bank that rents the foyer and generates rent for him? I am against the idea of pot shops moving into town. This is solely my personal opinion."

A Special Town Meeting in December approved the possibility of three licenses for recreational-marijuana shops in Arlington.  

Board discussion Monday will reveal how this proposal strikes members of the board.

Oct. 26, 2018: Water St. medical-marijuana dispensary opens

Jan. 10, 2018: Selectmen cool to alternative site for medical-marijuana dispensary

Feb. 27, 2017: Pappases are honored, and they immediately give back

This news summary was published Saturday, March 9, 2019, and updated March 10,  to add comment, and March 12, to add teaser.