Echoing the frustrations of virtually the entire city, Mayor Dan Rizzo sent a strongly worded letter to the Board of Demoulas Supermarkets (Market Basket) this week asking them to open the new, but vacant, building at Northgate or the City will look into legal options.
The Market Basket coming to Revere was a highly popular move and one that looked to be an anchor in the revamping of the Northgate Shopping Center. It was and is one of the most highly anticipated developments in the city. Construction on the store finished in July 2013, and a family squabble within the company led to the store never being able to open.
It still sits vacant.
“We have a two pronged problem,” said William Marsden, director of operations for Demoulas Super Markets Inc. “First, the Board of Directors of Demoulas Super Markets, Inc. took control of the real estate operations of the company last July against the advice of management and they have failed to complete the real estate deal with the Developer. Second, the relationship between the Board and management is so dysfunctional, difficult and problematic that at this time Market Basket management is unsure of the future, and it remains unclear when the next new store can or will be opened.”
“I am now confronted with the consequences of my decision in relying on the economic viability and potential of Market Basket,” wrote the mayor. “The signs in the area advertising Market Basket at its highly visible location on one of the busiest roadways in the city are daily reminders of the new supermarket that is not open for business.
“In addition, the Revere City Council has grown impatient and is now requesting me to provide information regarding a definitive opening date,” he continued. “Like me, they too view the behavior of this organization as one that has not been consistent with the positive image and reputation that has been built over decades. I would appreciate a response. In addition, I am turning this matter over to the City Solicitor to explore whatever legal options may be at our disposal in order to rectify the situation we unfortunately find ourselves in at present.”
Rizzo also detailed in his letter, which was addressed to Board Chair Keith Cowan of Atlanta, how there has been a series of unanswered communications to him.
“I am not accustomed to writing such letters, but this matter has been festering for some time now, including numerous unreturned phone calls to representatives in Tewksbury, and at least one unanswered email to you,” he wrote. “Unfortunately, I am left with few options.”
Rizzo also said he was very disappointed with what was once a very exciting development.
“Having a brand new vacant and unused business facility was never part of my vision for economic growth when I took office in January 2012,” he wrote. “Our citizens welcome the opportunity to work and shop there, and I believe the City has been an eminently patient host.”