Ceremonial groundbreaking participants, left to right: Town Administrator John McAuliffe, Chairman Board of Selectmen Don Bourque, Price Chopper VP of Engineering and Construction Bill Sweet, State Senator Richard T. Moore, Representative Kevin Kuros, Galaxy Development's Mike O'Brien, and Bowdoin Construction's Brian Collins. More photos follow.
New store will have a Starbucks
By Patriot staff
Webster - With the concrete walls already in place and steel girders in the background giving shape to the new Price Chopper grocery store, the official ground breaking ceremony at East Village Square took place on a drizzly Friday morning last week. Local officials and Price Chopper executives donned hard hats and took shovels to the dirt.
Afterwards in drier surroundings at Point Breeze restaurant, State Senator Richard T. Moore was first to address the gathering of local business people, residents, and officials who had come to witness the ceremony. He spoke about the historical aspects of the site, where Samuel Slater built his mills, and praised the developers for moving so quickly to redevelop it, rather than letting it sit empty, as happens so often with mills that have closed.
State Representative Kevin Kuros, who sits on the Joint Ccommittee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies in the House, said he often hears laments about the difficulty of doing business it the state, but pointed to this project as a positive example of economic expansion.
Town Administrator John McAuliffe said that in his 16 years as a town administrator he has never been as excited to be in a community where so many projects are going on, and predicted that people will drive to Webster to shop here.
Webster resident Mike O'Brien, principle of developer Galaxy Development LLC, told the group that he was very pleased to finally work on a project in his home town. “It’s been a long road for us,” he said, describing years of efforts to find a parcel of land to develop in Webster, all in vain until the Cranston Print Works property became available. He explained that the mill buildings on the site were not reusable.
Finding a good tenant was paramount, he said, as any development is only as good as its tenants. “A strong, credit worthy company, like Price Chopper, allowed us to achieve the necessary financing.”
Mr. O’Brien said he intends to honor the history of the parcel, Samuel Slater and the cotton mills, as well as Cranston Print Works. Early on he met with local historian Carla Manzi and asked her to give him some ideas as to what to do.
The historic CPW clock tower will be moved to the corner of the property to be part of a historic square surrounded by black ornamental fencing. The Samuel Slater monuments currently located across the street will also be moved to the square. In addition, there will be three or four flag poles, one of which will be American flag and the others community-oriented flags. “We’ll fly the flags of different organizations, such as the Webster Education Foundation, Bartlett High School, Webster Lake Association, St. Louis School, St. Anne’s and St. Joseph’s, from time to time.”
Mr. O’Brien said he hopes the project will be far enough along by Christmas to put up some lights.
Price Chopper’s vice president of engineering and construction, Bill Sweet, talked about the history of the Schenectady, New York,-based grocery chain, which now has 130 stores. They opened one in Gardner last week and now have seven stores in Massachusetts, including this one in Webster, which will replace the existing store on East Main Street.
Mr. Sweet delineated plans for the new 60,000 square foot store, which he said will bring 100 additional jobs to the community. The store will be a state-of-the- art facility, with more modern and expanded sections, such as fresh produce, fresh seafood, custom cut meat, specialty cheese, Roasters and Bella Roma Pizza, Central Market Florist, bagels, sushi, deli and sandwich shop. Coffee lovers may be happy to know that the store will have a Starbucks.
From a construction perspective, the building will be LEED certified at the silver level, Mr. Sweet said, though they are reaching higher, and may come close to the gold level. LEED is Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, a rating system for the construction and operation of high performance buildings, a “green” standard to which Price Shopper is committed. The silver level addresses standards for site sustainability, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, environmental quality, sky lighting and day lighting. An example of that will be a white membrane roofing system.
While the footprint of the store is similar to the existing store on East Main Street, the actual grocery selling space will be much larger, said store manager Tom Sullivan. The existing store was not laid out very efficiently.
The Price Chopper grocery chain targets the “middle of the road” shopper, according to zone director Bob Hewitt, but also offers many of the upscale products available at the high end stores, including organics, natural, gluten free, as well as locally produced products.
The new store is scheduled to open next April.
Mr. O’Brien announced last week that Panera Bread will also be a tenant at East Village Square. There is also space planned adjacent to Price Chopper for two small retailers, as yet unidentified.
- Tuesday, 02 October 2012
- Posted in Categories: : News