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Harvest Co-op inks deal for store at planned Forest Hills development

Posted by Matt Rocheleau  August 26, 2011 11:38 AM

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This story was updated Tues., Aug. 30, to add additional details from Harvest Co-op general manager Mike St. Clair:

Local cooperative grocer Harvest Co-op Market has signed a lease to open a new, 9,000 square-foot store as the “anchor” retailer within a Forest Hills development that is expected to begin construction in the coming months.

Site work for the future store along Washington Street near the Forest Hills MBTA station began this month and the market is expected to open late next year, officials said. Earlier this spring, the market announced it had signed a letter of intent to negotiate a a new store lease at that site as well as another in Fenway.

Harvest Co-op general manager Mike St. Clair said by e-mail, "we have
nothing new to report on the Fenway project."

The grocer’s existing store on South Street, about a half-mile from the planned new store, will remain open “with some minor modifications to the layout and variety,” the market’s board president Christina Lively said in an online letter first reported on by the Jamaica Plain Gazette. The market also operates a store in Cambridge, which will remain open and unchanged, co-op officials said.

“Harvest was selected as the 'anchor' retailer by the project developers because of its excellent reputation in the metro-Boston area for its healthy, high-quality food; its many years of community involvement; and its commitment to environmental stewardship,” Lively wrote.

In an e-mail, the co-op's general manager declined to disclose terms of Harvest's new store lease.

The market would be part of a planned 44,300-square-foot retail and commercial development dubbed “Arboretum Place” that will be split between two parcels – parcel W on the west side of Washington Street and parcel V on the east side – that were formerly owned by the MBTA, according to plans on the developer's website. Combined the sites comprise about 1.5 acres.

Development officials could not immediately be reached for comment, but St. Clair called the plans posted on the developer's website for at least several months, as still being "generally accurate."

The new market will be located on Parcel W, the development's first phase, which is planned to house a four-story, 32,200 square-foot building, according to plans from JP-based developer WCI Realty. The other parcel would consist of a three-level, 12,000 square-foot facility. Each building is planned for ground-floor retail and upper-level commercial use. Each site will include some landscaped open space.

The project also calls for 58 total off-street parking spaces, city records show. And, Harvest’s board president said some of those spaces will be dedicated for customers of the new market.

The development project received city redevelopment authority approval in spring 2010 after going through the small project public review process.

E-mail Matt Rocheleau at mjrochele@gmail.com.

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