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Supermarket must be part of One Canal development, officials say

Posted by Johanna Kaiser  July 18, 2012 06:19 PM

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(Image courtesy Google Maps)

The location of the proposed One Canal project.

Residents of the West End and North End are closer to securing a long-awaited supermarket in their neighborhoods.

State and city officials told community members at a public meeting Tuesday that the $175 million One Canal project proposed for the Bulfinch Triangle will not move forward if the developer does not secure a supermarket for the first floor of the building.

"It will be a requirement of the development agreement and the lease that there be a supermarket in the building," said Bill Tuttle, deputy director of Office of Real Estate and Asset Development at the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, which owns the parcel of land that runs along New Chardon Street, Beverly Street, and Valenti Way on the Rose Kennedy Greenway.

Tuttle said the department intends to ensure that the developer, Trinity Financial, has a sublease signed by a supermarket before the land lease is signed. A lease deadline has been set for March 1, 2013.

As part of the agreement, the supermarket would have to be on the ground floor and be at least 20,000 square feet, which covers most of the building's footprint.

Trinity Financial must keep a supermarket the building as long as there is no alternative open and operating in the immediate area, but what defines "alternative" and "immediate area" has yet to be determined, Tuttle said.

Geoffrey Lewis, of the Boston Redevlopment Authority, also said the supermarket requirement would be included as part of the approval process.

Abby Goldenfarb, a project manager for Trinity Financial, said the company, which developed the Shaw's at Lower Mills in Dorchester, has had several conversations with "credible supermarket operators" about leasing the space.

"We've gone down the road and have had more serious conversations with with two credible operators regarding design, construction," said Goldenfarb, who could not disclose which supermarkets have shown interest in the space.

Assured that local officials and the developer were committed to bringing a supermarket to their neighborhood, residents--some who have worked for more than a decade to bring an affordable supermarket to the area -- were largely supportive of the project and focused questions on deliveries, lighting and safety, community mitigation, and affordable housing.

The 12-story building will house 320 rental units ranging from studios to three-bedroom apartments, including 21 on-site affordable housing units. The building will also have a 159-space parking garage on the second and third floors for residents.

Lewis, of the BRA, said the project could go before the authority's board for approval by at its next monthly meeting scheduled for August 9.

The public can submit comments about the project to the authority by July 31.
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Twitter: @YourBeaconHill
E-mail: johanna.yourtown@gmail.com

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