FRAMINGHAM, MA - Since reporting that the owners of the Nobscot Shopping Center had demolished the vintage sign that stood out front for the past half-century, there have been only small bits of news about the property's future.
I had this article almost finished last night, but was waiting for a reply from Steve Sylven, an official spokesperson for SuperValu Inc., (NYSE: SVU)
While most of the complaints about the shopping center have been directed at Centercorp Retail Properties, Inc., the listed agent for the plaza -- it appears Centercorp's hands are literally tied, preventing them from doing anything at the plaza.
According to Steve, "SuperValu", the parent company of Shaw's Supermarkets, Star Market and other grocery and retail chains holds a long term lease on the entire Nobscot Shopping Center plaza. Their lease runs until July 31st, 2043 -- end even then they can exercise (2) 25-year options to renew.
The story is bit more complicated, and I'll get to the details, but in his first email Steve wrote, "[we] have actively been working with CenterCorp over the last several months to determine a future development plan for the property. We are pleased to report this plan is currently being finalized and we expect to move forward with it beginning next month."
I had spoken with Steve on the phone yesterday, (Sept. 20, 2011), and asked a few questions, and also related a few concerns I'd discussed with Brett Peruzzi and others involved with the Nobscot Neighbors group. One concern Mr. Sylven addressed was "the sign".
"Our plan is to recreate that vintage look in a new sign, as part of the redevelopment."
-Steve Sylven, spokesman for SuperValu, Inc.
He had read the article I wrote, "Nobscot Landmark Disappears", (Sept. 9, 2011), and in an email wrote, "it’s my understanding it was taken down because it was in such poor condition it had become a safety concern. Our plan is to recreate that vintage look in a new sign, as part of the redevelopment.
Yes, he used the words "new sign" and "redevelopment" in the same sentence. That sounds like progress!
Steve could not provide specific details as there needs to be an agreement between Centercorp, SuperValu and the new management group they bring in, (and we all know The Town will want a say in any plan), but he did write, "I can tell you that we have already begun the process to both redevelop and market the plaza."
Steve said that once they get a new property management group in place they will be, "making needed improvements to the property and actively marketing the space to new tenants - over the next several months".
There are actually (3) parcels that make up Centercorp's holdings in the vicinity of the shopping center. There's the main plaza's 6.14 acre parcel, (at 770 Water Street), and then there's "770 Water St. Rear" the triangular 1/2 acre lot on the south-west corner of the property, and another 1/2 acre parcel at 881 Edgell Road -- that's the address of the boarded up former Texaco Station located between Gianni's Pizza and the Nobscot Professional Building.
Steve confirmed that his company's lease includes the former Texaco gas station which has sat boarded up and blocked off for the past decade, (and is one of the worst eyesores not only in Nobscot, but in the entire town).
Although Steve didn't provide a lot of details, chances are his company can afford any type of redevelopment plan -- SuperValu Inc. is the 3rd largest food supplier in the United States, and with $40.6 billion in annual revenue and $393 million in profits, ranks at #61 for all companies in the Fortune 100.
Below are some of the SuperValu Inc. brands:
Let's hope that now that a communication channel has been opened with the company controlling the property that Nobscot can start moving forward -- and the Nobscot Shopping Center can return to its rightful place as the center of commerce in the north-west corner of Framingham.