Framingham Online News

Nobscot Shopping Center to be Redeveloped

September 21, 2011 (7:29 pm EST)
Filed under: Business by Randy Harris
(PHOTO) Former Coutryfare Star Market at 770 Water Street sits vacant in Framingham, MA

Formerly a Coutryfare Star Market grocery store, the largest retail space in the Nobscot Shopping Center has sat vacant for nearly a decade.

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.

Nobscot Shopping Center sign

Original Nobscot Shopping Center sign.

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.

Centercorp's Nobscot Property

The (3) parcels that make up the Nobscot Shopping Center in Framingham, MA.

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).

Boarded up gas station at 881 Edgell Rd is also part of Centercorp Nobscot property

The boarded up gas station at 881 Edgell Rd is also part of Nobscot Shopping Center property.

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:

SuperValu owned 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.


  1. I really hope they don’t recreate the “vintage” sign. I don’t see why such an old look is desirable. Something more tasteful and in line with a residential neighborhood would look much nicer.

    Comment by Janet Engelson — September 22, 2011 @ 6:29 am

  2. I liked that sign. A lot of people liked that sign. In the sign’s defense — I’ll hint to SuperValu that they likely won’t be able to put up new sign that tall unless they do restore it to original. But the sign isn’t the most important thing here. The important thing is we’ve gotten some genuine “communication”. Maybe SuperValu will come up with a great new design for the property and the sign. Hopefully SuperValu will accept the Board of Selectman’s offer, (which Centercorp refused), and send a representative to a public meeting to present their plan (when it’s ready) and that both “The Town” and the company will work together in the best interest of all concerned parties.

    Comment by Randy Harris — September 22, 2011 @ 8:12 am

  3. Just hope we get some kind of grocery store there!

    Comment by Carrie-Ann — September 22, 2011 @ 8:18 am

  4. Please, let’s do something with that space. There are alot of us waiting to utilize the area. Make it a part of our lives again. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to walk there and go for coffee or an ice cream, meet some friends,or buy groceries. It is such a waste right now. Pretty sad!!
    Mary Jane Gangi

    Comment by Mary Jane Gangi — September 22, 2011 @ 1:00 pm

  5. The vacant Nobscott Shopping area is a real detriment to the Nobscott Area. Utilizing that space with grocery shopping, bakery perhaps etc. etc. will be such a pleasant change. It is depressing looking at a gas station in such disrepair. As far as the vintage sign, I think that a retro sign such as the one we had would not be a good representation of food being fresh and new. I think vintage works well with antique shops & old movie Theaters.

    Comment by Jane Wingate — September 22, 2011 @ 3:19 pm

  6. Great work Randy – really appreciate your ability to gather this info.

    Comment by Chris Thurrott — September 23, 2011 @ 8:58 am

  7. It’s amazing that we have in this day and age so many trees cut down, so much natural habitat clear cut to make way for new construction, when there are so many parcels of real-estate already developed and abandoned that just need some love. Nobscot is at an important crossroad geographically, and has been for hundreds of years. It’s been a shame to see it in such a sad state for so long.

    My recently departed grandfather, who was a B-24 bomber navigator station in England in WW2, said, when shown around, that Nobscot reminded him of some London neighborhoods after the V1 rocket attacks he witnessed there.

    But the rays of hope in the last few years have shone a bright light on the path to a phoenixesque rising in Nobscot. Those first rays being the formation of Nobscot neighbors, the opening of the wonderful CJ’s diner, and the ongoing construction of the TD Bank at Edmonds and Edgell roads, to name a few.

    As someone who walks and rides frequently through the area, simply having a sidewalk with nice landscaping in front of the Bank, linking it to Nobscot Convenience, has done wonders to the viability of this area as a more pedestrian-friendly village-center that Nobscot once was.

    Seeing people walking to a fro in the neighborhood, or out riding bikes, is a sign that things are looking up for our little corner that has endeared many generations of Framinghamians to it.

    One thing that my family is particularly excited about is the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail, which is slated to run right through the area. Having experienced many rail trails Nationally and Internationally, having that run by our Nobscot is truly a blessing in the amount of additional exposure to families out exercising together. That seems to be a few years away still, but it’s been a great cross-country ski trail for us every winter.

    Hearing the news of a redevelopment has brightened my personal outlook for our area. It’ll be nice to see ourselves reflected in the area when it’s up and running smoothly. I look forward to continue my support of our local businesses, and having my kids grow up in an area that resembles the hopefulness of a rebuilding post-war London, instead of an economically bombed-out eyesore.

    Comment by Chaz — September 23, 2011 @ 8:49 pm

  8. Thank you Randy Harris and all the people who are keeping SuperValu’s toes to the heat. We need that Plaza developed. I would love to see a Food store there.

    Comment by Quinna Giebelhaus — September 27, 2011 @ 5:32 pm

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