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Construction at Waltham's Polaroid site resuming, except for Market Basket

Posted by Jaclyn Reiss  September 30, 2013 04:30 PM

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Waltham officials announced today that construction has resumed at the 280,000 square-foot development at the former Polaroid site, except for the massive Market Basket store.

The announcement comes more than 3 weeks after Waltham Mayor Jeannette McCarthy said that years-long work on the entire retail and office development had been halted as a result of the internal battle at Market Basket between factions of the Demoulas family.

"I am happy to announce that all construction at the former Polaroid site is resuming, including the Marshall’s site and restaurants etc., except for Market Basket, which is still in process," McCarthy said in a brief email this afternoon.

No other information was immediately available.

The board battle at the supermarket company had tied up payments of construction invoices and the processing of necessary paperwork, McCarthy previously told the Globe.

Holding up Market Basket, the anchor tenant of the development, halted construction in early September of the entire plaza, where steel framework had begun to take shape late this summer. The development has previously been slated to open in the first quarter of next year.

The Market Basket fight pits president Arthur T. Demoulas against other family members, led by Arthur S. Demoulas, who recently gained majority control of the company’s board.

Arthur T. Demoulas has asserted that his opponents want control of Market Basket in part to approve greater cash distributions to the company’s nine shareholders. The board recently approved a $300 million distribution. Arthur S. Demoulas has sought the removal of Arthur T. as president, alleging in court papers that he ignored the board’s authority and spent money recklessly. Arthur T.’s opponents accused him of “self-dealing” transactions in which he has directed tens of millions of dollars to real estate businesses owned by his wife and brothers-in-law. Arthur T. says the transactions were vetted and approved by an outside arbitrator.

The real estate project in Waltham is being developed by Retail Management and Development Inc. and 1265 Main LLC. A brother-in-law of Arthur T. Demoulas is listed in state records as a principal of Retail Management and Development.

Scott Lang, a lawyer representing the development firm, previously told the Globe the Market Basket board recently stripped Arthur T. Demoulas of the power to make day-to-day business decisions. Now the board is reviewing everything related to the company’s operations, which is holding up construction in Waltham, Lang said.

“As a result of this, things are backing up where no one has the authority to sign documents or permits, or pay invoices,” Lang previously told the Globe. “This is not something that came up at last minute — we’ve been working to get this done for six weeks, but the board hasn’t focused on it and gotten it done."

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Jaclyn Reiss can be reached at jaclyn.reiss@globe.com

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