Town Plan and Zoning Commission members on Tuesday praised renovation plans for the building that previously housed Sym's clothing store in unanimously approving the application from Orthopedic Specialty Group to move to the site at Commerce Drive and lower Black Rock Turnpike.

The building that once house the clothing store, as well as Filene's Basement, will be renovated into medical offices.

"I like the application," said TPZ Commissioner Gerry Alessi, and fellow panel member Douglas Soutar agreed. "I think there was a lot to like in this application. It will be a much more attractive space," Soutar said.

Under the approved plan, the structure would increase in size by 512 square feet, from 43,276 square feet to 43,788 square feet, with construction of a lobby. The windowless building will have windows and glazing added, with landscaping , trees and lights planned for the parking lot.

"It's an excellent adaptation of an existing building," Commissioner Sally Parker said, noting that the addition of windows and atrium make the structure more attractive.

The TPZ appended minor conditions on its approval. The commission wants to see the landscaping plan show more of a green buffer behind the building, some additional islands with trees in the parking lot and the removal of the "flaming bush" from the plan. Vice Chairman Rich Jacobs said the bush is an invasive species and should not be used.

OSG is currently located a short distance away in an office building on Kings Highway Cutoff. The lower level of the medical practice's new home will have a surgery center, clinical department and radiology department. The upper level will have administrative and executive offices, a physical therapy department and "OrthoFast," an urgent care walk-in center for orthopedic injuries.

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