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Supermarket Committee Asks for Support

Supermarket Committee at NEWRA’s September 2009 Meeting

This week, Lia Tota and the Supermarket Committee came back to the neighborhood seeking support for a reinvigorated effort toward a supermarket project in the Bulfinch Triangle. The proposed site is next to the Avenir, a new apartment complex adjacent to North Station on Parcels 2A and 2C which are currently owned by MassPike and the MBTA.

Ten years ago, the North End/West End/Beacon Hill Supermarket Committee was formed to pursue development of an affordable supermarket. Due to bureaucracy and the struggling economy, there has been very little movement on the project.

The Boston Redevelopment Authority has agreed to meet with the Supermarket Committee on September 18th. The committee would like to have NEWRA’s support before it appeals to the BRA. It will be looking for the BRA to examine governmental efforts to support the project through subsidies.

In response to questions, the committee noted that the chosen developer remains a joint venture between Raymond and Hines. However, Hines is likely to take the lead as Raymond has lost some enthusiasm for the project.

The Hines-Raymond JV will not go forward until they have an anchor lessee for the upper floors of the building. In today’s economy, the developer indicates they won’t be able to get financing for an unleased building. Currently, the JV does not have the financing to build and City won’t risk another “Filenes hole.”

Stop & Shop is still on-board to be the selected supermarket. However, the company has raised some concerns regarding plans for a Parcel 9 (Haymarket/Blackstone St) market district. The BRA is confident that the economics and customer numbers are still sufficient to support a supermarket. Local merchants would also be shielded from a direct impact because the supermarket would not be in the North End.

In order to gauge support for the project, the North End/Waterfront Residents’ Association used their regular secret ballot mechanism to vote at its September 10th meeting. The vote tally was 36 in support and 3 in opposition. NEWRA will support the supermarket committee’s efforts to pursue this project in the Bulfinch Triangle.