Rooted in Updates NABB on Proposal for Cannabis Delivery Service

Rooted In, an adult-use cannabis shop at 331 Newbury St., is hoping to add delivery services to its existing retail operations, a company spokesman said during the Sept. 11 virtual monthly meeting of the Neighborhood Association of the Back Bay (NABB) License and Building Use Committee.

​Brian Keith, one of the founding owners of Rooted In, said since the Newbury Shop opened in December, it has delivered on its promise of providing a “boutique cannabis experience.”

​“It’s more of a candy store than a cannabis store,” added Keith. “There’s something for everyone.”

​To start, Rooted In plans to use one small electric-vehicle for deliveries, which would emit “zero pollution and zero engine noise,” said Keith, who added that this move comes in anticipation of an expected drop in business during the winter months, and to “remain competitive with reality of Newbury Street rents.”

​The delivery vehicle would stay parked in one of two tandem off-street parking spaces at the rear of the building, which are provided as a provision of the business’s lease, said Keith, and it could be parked overnight in a space that Rooted In currently rents in the Prudential Center garage.

​(Conrad Armstrong, committee chair, advised Keith that the Back Bay Architectural Commission would need to approve a charging station for the electric vehicle(s) proposed for the rear of the shop in the alley.)

​The delivery vehicle would look just like a passenger vehicle, no different than one driven by an Uber or a DoorDash driver, with the vehicle’s appearance giving no indication that it’s transporting cannabis, said Keith.

​Additionally, all deliveries would be recorded, with cameras in delivery vehicles and by drivers wearing bodycams, said Keith, while all transactions would use a “100-percent cashless and contactless” method of payment, usually a debit or credit card, to make deliveries as quick and efficient as possible.

​All cannabis products would be kept in the vehicles inside a locked, sealed container (i.e. a “cage”) during transport, added Keith.

Meanwhile, Keith anticipates that the business would make 20 to 40 deliveries per day to start and grow from there, and that the delivery service would target not only the Back Bay but instead the Greater Boston area.

​“The industry is so new, it’s hard to know what we’ll be doing on a daily basis,” said Keith.

​Despite Rooted In’s later closing times, all deliveries would need to be completed and in customers’ hands nightly by 9 p.m. (and by 8 p.m. on Sunday, in accordance with the shop’s earlier closing time on that day), said Keith. The business would likely start with a one- to two-hour delivery window, he added, which would hopefully be reduced to a half hour or 45 minutes over time as the service gets more streamlined.

​In another matter, representatives for citizenM, a new hotel opening in the north tower on Parcel 12 on the southwest corner of Massachusetts Avenue and Newbury Street, came before the committee to discuss acquiring a liquor license for the hotel. (The Back Bay hotel is poised as the East Coast flagship location for the hotel chain, which has 30 locations worldwide, including one at North Station, said Tom Miller, an attorney for the applicant.)

​The requested liquor license would cover both an establishment in the ground-floor lobby offering “light and shareable meals,” with a bar seating throughout and a 36-seat outdoor patio, said Keith, as well as a “relaxed wine bar” located on the 13th-floor roofdeck.

​Miller said the rooftop bar would likely seat between 20 and 40 patrons based on its size and added that it “would not be a club or a destination,” but rather “a relaxed place for [hotel guests] to wind down and enjoy the views” of the Back Bay, Cambridge, and beyond.

The applicant was requesting a 2 a.m. closing time for both establishments, said Miller, although Elliott Laffer, chair of NABB’s board of directors, advised him that a 2 a.m. closing time would likely be non-starter for a ground-floor establishment as far as NABB is concerned. (Miller said he would discuss a 1 a.m. closing time with his client instead in response to Laffer’s remarks.)

The LBU Committee also heard from representatives for STK Steakhouse, which is expected to open at 500 Boylston St./222 Berkeley St. in the former Tico space in the late fall or early winter.

​The fully renovated, approximately 7,000 square-foot restaurant space would seat 140 patrons inside, said Adam Barnosky, an attorney for the applicant, as well as an additional 62 patrons in an enclosed, year-round patio located on private property. (The new patio would be contained within roughly the same footprint as Tico’s previous patio, said Barnosky.)

​STK is seeking a license with a 2 a.m. closing time, seven days a week, although Stacey Perrone, the restaurant’s manager of record, said the kitchen would likely close by midnight, with the bar staying open later.

​The proposed restaurant is also pursuing an entertainment license from the city, which would mirror the one previously held by Tico to allow for a deejay and one live musician to provide atmospheric music, as well as for recorded music and TVs on the premises.

​Armstrong told applicants he would notify them of NABB’s position (i.e. whether to oppose or not to oppose) on their respective applications) by next week.

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