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Nobscot Hears Plans for Revitalizing Its Shopping Center [Video]

A boutique grocery store, like McKinnon's Market, Butcher Boy Market or The Meat House, is being consider as an anchor store for Nobscot Shopping Center, a realty firm told neighbors gathered at a meeting Thursday night.

The realty firm hired to revitalize the Nobscot Shopping Center informed more than 100 residents Thursday night it is looking at boutique grocery stores like McKinnon's Market, Butcher Boy Market and The Meat House to bring the almost empty plaza back to life, not a large chain like Market Basket.

Jeff Bruk, of Wilmington-based Boylston Realty Advisors, said his firm was hired last fall by SuperValu Inc., and his making progress, albeit "baby steps" in repositioning the shopping center.

SuperValu leases the shopping center from owners Andy Rose and Mark Klaman of Centercorp Retail Properties.

Many in the audience were unfamiliar with meat market/grocery store suggested Bruk made. (Check out the uploaded videos on two of the stores suggested.)

McKinnon's Market, which opened its first store in Everett in 1945, sells meats, seafood, produce, deli, baked goods and groceries and the family-owned chain now has four locations in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

Family-owned for three generations, Butcher Boy is a full-service meat market, which also stocks groceries, located in North Andover.

The Meat House is a national chain, with six location in Massachusetts, including Arlington, Brookline, Franklin and Walpole.

Bruk said a grocery store could be a "junior anchor" in the plaza, but said Market Basket, suggested a number of times by audience members, would be rejected by his client, SuperValu Inc. (There is a Market Basket on Route 126 in neighboring Ashland, too.)

Bruk said his client does not want a large chain, like Market Basket, to compete with its Shaw's on Route 20 in Sudbury.

Stan Berman, a Nobscot resident, asked his fellow neighbors to boycott that Shaw's.

Bruk said one of the other "junior anchors" could be the existing CVS store, as his firm is "sensitive to the needs of the existing tenants."

While Bruk suggested types of businesses with examples, he made it clear he could not release the names of any specific business or retailer they are in talks with.

"We have received proposals. ... We have started negotiations," said Bruk, who explained that even when a business signs a letter of intent it can take 2-4 months to finalize a lease.

Selectman Laurie Lee, a Nobscot resident, said she has been just as frustrated as her fellow neighbors over the years, but said Boylston Realty Advisors and Bruk are moving forward and looking to the future.

"Tonight we have a new beginning," said Lee. "This is a really big step for Nobscot."

Several in the audience were confused by the term "fast, casual restaurant,"  which was another suggestion for the plaza by Bruk.

Examples he gave, included Chipotle Mexican Grill, Five Guys or Panera Bread, all of which are already located in Framingham.

Town Meeting member and Nobscot resident Kathy Vassar said she would love to see a "higher-end produce or bakery."

Rick Gallagher said he would like to see a gas station, as the one in Nobscot has no competitor and charges 13-15 cents more than stations on Route 9 or in South Framingham.

Suggestions of banks or donut shops by Bruk were not well-received by the audience assembled at Heritage Assisted Living, located almost directly across the street from the plaza.

Brett Peruzzi, the organizer of Nobscot Neighbors, suggested everyone stay involved in the process. He said large numbers like Thursday night will also be needed as the project progresses through Town Hall, including the Planning Board.

Bruk told the audience the property is not up to all current building code and that renovations would be needed. He said they are not considering a two-story plaza with offices or residences. Bruk said an architect and civil engineers has been hired, and there are plans to repave the parking lot.

If talks stay on pace, Bruk said construction could begin as early as spring 2013.

Present at the meeting also was Selectman Charlie Sistsky, a Nobscot resident, Selectman Dennis Giombetti, interim Town Manager Valerie Mulvey, Framingham Economic Development Director Allison Steinfeld, whom Mulvey appointed to be the point person for this plaza, and several other Town Meeting members.

Jean Burr February 17, 2012 at 01:32 PM
I guess those of us from the south of Route 9 will continue to go to Ashland to do our grocery shopping. We need an affordable supermarket in Framingham--not a botique grocery store.
Susan Petroni (Editor) February 17, 2012 at 03:30 PM
Want to know more about Butcher Boy? McKinnons? I uploaded a flyer with sale prices and a couple of youtube videos of these boutique-style family-owned businesses
jaimie February 17, 2012 at 03:38 PM
Ya I agree jean. The word boutique will scare everyone away. A small bakery would be good since the bread basket ckosed in fram a few yrs ago and rains bakery in pinefield closed many yrs ago. No more donut shops. When childrens orchard was there it was so convenient. I hope they listen to the residents bc we know what will work n what wont.
Herminia Raagas February 17, 2012 at 04:32 PM
Any real fresh butcher meat supplier/store in the Nobscot Center is most welcome & the answer to a longing for such need of freshly slaughtered meat not frozen.
JRR February 17, 2012 at 05:30 PM
Thanks for the coverage Susan, well done and really informative. I think a Butcher Boy or McKinnons would be fantastic since there is nothing like it around - new and different could draw in not only Framingham residents but people from surrounding communities as well.
Brenda Crawshaw February 17, 2012 at 08:14 PM
I have refused to set foot in the Shaw's in Sudbury since I saw a copy of that least last year. I am sure my piddling standard grocery money (I shop local and small as much as possible) doesn't mean a hill of squat to them BUT the one thing I DO have in excess is a big mouth and friends who get it. If all of us/you who are in the vicinity of Shaw's and took your business elsewhere, we/you can collectively send a hard message that what they have done is NOT appreciated.
Susan Petroni (Editor) February 17, 2012 at 10:50 PM
Thanks!
Celia Wendt February 18, 2012 at 12:01 AM
I live closer to the Ashland Market Basket but would definitely be traveling over that way for these types of shops, a fresh meat market? Great!! I think we need more of this in Framingham. Isn't there a McKinnons in Sommerville? Or maybe its not part of the same business?
Mary Jane Gangi February 20, 2012 at 01:21 PM
Thank you, Susan for all your wonderful information. Mary Jane Gangi
Meri February 20, 2012 at 09:03 PM
I know I have said it before, but I still feel strongly that if you put together a bunch of stores that are all family oriented or family friendly it would definitely draw young families in. A grocery store would be fantastic, whether it was sort of a "Butcher +" kind of place or just like Donelan's Market in Wayland. Give me someplace where I can get in and out with my kvetchy, teething toddler quickly, and I will drop Peapod altogether in favor for picking out some high-quality food by hand. If they could add to that something like an Ice Cream/Coffee shop like Cafe on the Common in Waltham, someplace kids would look forward to going to and where Moms could get a cup of coffee and get off their feet, maybe meeting friends in the area for a cup of coffee, that would probably convince Moms to go to that particular shopping center. In my dreams that would be accompanied by a bakery if the grocery doesn't do baked goods and maybe a small toy store or someplace else kids would enjoy, a dry cleaner's, a casual dining place and maybe a pharmacy and I would be a very happy Mom! The future of Framingham is young families. We can't afford to buy anywhere else this close to Boston with such quality Elementary schools, and even when we can afford to buy in other places we get a whole lot more house for our money in Framingham right now. I predict that over the next three to five years most of the houses bought in this area will be young families!
Jim Rizoli February 21, 2012 at 05:48 AM
@Meri said.....The future of Framingham is young families. Actually that is a blessing and a curse. The more young families the more kids going to school. The more kids the more spent on busing, teachers, etc..... Can you say bigger school budget? Taxes will have to increase increase to pay for it all, forcing out the older ones living here. You think it's bad now.....You ain't seen anything. So Framingham turns into a not so affordable town and other problems come along. So Meri.....If your predictions comes true.....kiss good bye to the older generation living here, and you and you husband might have to work full time to keep up with it all. Maybe you're doing that already......then a second job for one of you might be in store. Jim@ccfiile.com
Chris Gagen February 23, 2012 at 05:41 AM
@Meri, Perhaps you should just come to Nobscot now... Cj's has great food, coffee and ice cream, We're kid friendly (no booze) and you can get off your feet or meet friends as you say.. a dry cleaner or a drug store? Well we have those too.. As far as the future goes... Is there a huge vacancy rate in the area? This is not Miami or Stockton California, or Nevada, the foreclosure rate in Framingham is about 1 in 1100 homes. I would hope to focus on the current residents and their needs and wants as opposed to the future young families that may or may not come.... Support the businesses that have weathered the storm or in our case opened and created local jobs.. That should keep "Mom" happy, as well as Dads, Grandparents and Kids.
Denise Romano August 26, 2012 at 11:48 AM
I think a meat market would be perfect- I have been driving to north shore for years to get my meat. It would be nice to get local service. Denise

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