A Supermarket is Coming: Officials Hold Firm on Commitment

Meeting attendees included representatives from the Boston Redevelopment Authority, Massachusetts Department of Transportation, Trinity Financial, Rep. Michlewitz’s Office, Rep. Walz’s Office, Strada, Bulfinch Triangle Citizens Advisory Committee, West End Civic Association, North End / Waterfront Residents’ Association, and the North End/West End/Beacon Hill Supermarket Committee.

A supermarket is in … no, it’s out … it’s Stop & Shop, … maybe not. More than a decade in the works, the long-anticipated affordable supermarket for the North End, West End and Beacon Hill is on-track to break ground in the Spring of 2013 as part of the One Canal project in the Bulfinch Triangle. On Tuesday night, a public presentation and discussion was hosted by the Boston Redevelopment Authority, the Bulfinch Triangle Citizens Advisory Committee and the designated developer, Trinity Financial, regarding the design proposal.

The yet unnamed supermarket is part of One Canal, a $175 million, 12-story, 320-unit rental housing development expected to open in mid-2015. According to officials, the lease will contain a firm requirement for a supermarket in the 20,000 square feet set aside for retail use on the ground floor. State and city regulators said Trinity must have a supermarket signed up by March 1, 2013 in order to receive a land lease for the development to move forward. The only exception would be if another supermarket is “open and operating” in the nearby area. Trinity said they have been in close negotiations with two grocery companies, and have exchanged confidential term sheets. However, they are not yet ready to name the supermarket company.

Located in the Bulfinch Triangle, the One Canal development project is at the nexus of the West End and the North End, known formally as Greenway Parcels 2A, 2B and 2C because they were created by the Big Dig. This will be the last of four abutting development projects in the North Station area, along N. Washington Street, Valenti Way and Canal Street. The Project Notification Form (PNF) proposes a 438,800 square foot building including approximately 320 units of rental housing, 159 parking spaces and 21,300 square feet of retail space (i.e., supermarket) on the ground floor. There is no parking allocated for the supermarket. The identified spaces will be for One Canal residents.

North End, West End and Beacon Hill residents asked the “supermarket” question every which way at the meeting. Feeling satisfied with the commitments provided for the supermarket, the general reaction to the overall proposal was very favorable. There were also several compliments on the architecture and design plan for the oddly configured plot.

The BRA comment period is now open and closes on Tuesday, July 31, 2012. Comments can be emailed to geoffrey.lewis.bra@cityofboston.gov.