North Station to get a Star Market

Proposed new entrance to Boston Garden

Proposed new entrance to the Garden from developer's BRA filing.

The Herald reports Star Market has agreed to build a mega-market in the $1-billion mixed-use development planned for that vacant space in front of the Garden and the train station.

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$7.8 million for star?

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I wish it was Russos or Market Basket, but at least its something. That being said, was it really necessary to give Star $7.8 million to open there? If the city has that much money to lose a better priced supermarket like Market Basket would be better. I wonder if they offered that money to all supermarkets or just Star.

Sure, the city paying your

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Sure, the city paying your rent is a great business model, but is that available to every supermarket or just Star?

Not much of a struggle there

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Unless you're thinking of the intellectual struggle involved in answering the question of how that particular Shaw's stays in business (and I say that as somebody who actually shops there).

It's really for the developer

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This is how they hide gifts to developers. The tenant makes the application and promises jobs, benefits and more. So instead of the developer lowering the rent by a buck or two per sf, the taxpayer picks up the tab. The developer has to sign off by saying they need it or the project can't be done (which nobody in their right mind believes - these usually amount to about 1% of the project - but the affidavit takes the BRA and City Council off the hook). Perhaps not surprisingly, nobody ever investigates these applications for fraud, which almost all of them are at least in the lay sense of the word. Granted, it's a good lawyer's job to convince you the sky is green not blue when necessary and that fraud is legit under some circumstances.

Under Walsh there have been two such deals (I think both unanimously approved by the City Council) - one for the Rosenthal air rights project - about $5 million and another quite recently for LogMeIn in Southie - about $2.5 million. In return the developers and their execs generally contribute the max to political campaigns and for mayors they donate to any number of causes. Menino hid this masterfully during his rule - apparently there is a charity that the mayor controls and whenever there was some pressing community need - this charity magically had funds to support it which always made the mayor look like a hero. This only came to light in the last couple of years. Not sure the current status of that fund.

It can also come in the form of a white knight - for example, if the Enchanted Village needs money for saving, some annual fireworks or the First Night parade are at risk - you can usually count on the developers and their minions to step up. There's never an exact quid pro quo - but there's a reason that when a favored developer says he wants to put up a building downtown the BRA's kneejerk response is not "what's the zoning", it's "How big do you want it to be"?

Good/bad, legal/illegal - you be the judge - but it's the political grease that makes the real estate machine in this town work.

Carry out to where ?

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Says the store will "emphasize hot prepared foods" but don't try bringing them into the Garden above for events...
Of course it would be good for commuters on the trains going home in the evening

Been there lately?

Two huge apartment buildings right across the street. A new, even larger one going up closer to Haymarket. Not to mention Charles River Park. Penty of residents in the area.

Yup

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Probably a thousand apartments will be within a 3 min walk, not to mention the entire north end who will shop there.

oh yay

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Finally. North Enders and Charlestown people rejoice!

Hooray

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Breaking Hell Foods' stranglehold on the area. Great to have a real grocery store option.

YUP!

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YUP!

I've been using instacart to avoid Whole Paycheck in Charlestown.

Oh waaah.

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You obviously never lived there when the shitty market (I can't even remember--was it a Star? A Shaws?) was the only option. Honestly...I'm so tired of people whining about Whole Foods. If you want to move to a neighborhood where your only options are Market Basket and some tired-ass bodegas that smell like cat pee then feel free.

Great addition to the area

Maybe it will be the catalyst that starts improving Causeway street. Its still a dump and the benefits of the elimination of the elevated green line have not been realized yet. The street is too wide and needs a median. Maybe some trees down the middle would help improve it. .

Im sure there is plenty room for one.

Right now it has 3 lanes in each direction. It has a small median as it is. But its hardly distinguishable from the roadway. Then right around where the Penalty Box (Now Causeway Tavern or something) used to be, one lane splits off if heading towards Staniford St, reducing 3 lanes into two, running the opposite direction. Its just a weird layout. The roadway also dips and rises in places for no apparent reason.
The street is filthy and usually the homeless are gathered around 711. The whole area is ripe for a makeover.

Medians just encourage

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Medians just encourage drivers to driver faster and make streets less pedestrian friendly. Use the extra space to widen the sidewalks and add cycle tracks. Kendall has done similar things to some of the too wide roads there and had great success. It is a much better area than it used to be.

It already has one

But its small and barely noticeable except when a group is crammed onto it trying to cross. Traffic barely moves as it is.

Most of the time traffic

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Most of the time traffic moves briskly through the area, its only congested during rush hour (a couple hours a day) and before and after some games. The majority of the time cars speed through and pedestrians get stuck on the median or have to risk their lives and hope a driver obeys the law and yields in the crosswalk (which takes awhile). There are highways all around (93 is a few blocks away as is Storrow and Rt. 1). This road should be more oriented to the people who live there and those that walk and take the T to the area. Continuing to have it be a a six lane road is one of the major reasons the area is so crappy, its unpleasant to walk in the area.

Where have medians been

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Where have medians been removed in Kendall? I only know of streets that had unneeded travel lanes converted into bike lanes and parking.

Cycle tracks encourage cyclists to ride where it's the most dangerous. I'd prefer on-street bike lanes or extra-wide right lanes.

Uh

Cycle tracks encourage cyclists to ride where it's the most dangerous.

Wut?

Can't tell if you are a Forrester devotee or just unaware of the accumulating evidence on the safety of cycletracks.

Needs Something

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Causeway Street does have a median. It's just that it is a barren, lifeless one.

Replacing the T station and putting in a couple of grocery stores [one still to be built] helps. But removing the elevated line alone did not do as much as one would expect. It went from a shadow filled toilet to a bleak and sunbaked desert. No happy medium.

I have not been down there in a bit... have they done anything about the burnt out McDonald's site and the junkies?

Too bad the landlord

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Too bad the landlord destroyed the ornate stucco about 5 years ago. It could have been a nice rehab. Supposedly McDonalds is still paying rent there and that's why no other tenant has moved in.

The junkies will be there so

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The junkies will be there so long as the meth clinic on Canal is. Always enjoy going to the DD on Canal and listening to how the junkies plan to scam CVS or whomever after they get their methadone. Heroin is a hell of a drug.

What?

You got a problem paying five bucks for a ten pack of Mach 3 Razors?

From the article...

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"...The supermarket will be downtown Boston’s largest, and will potentially cap a 16-year push by the North End/West End/Beacon Hill Supermarket Committee to bring an affordable grocery to their neighborhoods."
Sounds like they'll be disappointed to have landed Star Market, then

I shop at Star Market!

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It used to be a Shaw's. Everything's exactly the same but with 15% higher prices!

It was a Star first

You don't need to be too old to remember when most of the Star markets were renamed Shaw's in an attempt to ditch the Star brand which had a bad reputation. Then they managed to destroy Shaw's to the point where the old Star looked better in comparison and now they are renaming them again.

The joke is most locals didn't notice the first name change and won't noticed this change either. Everyone just thinks of it as the crappy supermarket you go to when you don't have time to go someplace else.

I hope they at least have the foresight to put the Shaw's signs into storage for when they need to go back to that name in 10 years.

Star market

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I used to love the old Star markets. I had no idea they had a bad reputation back then.

Dont know where you get that

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Dont know where you get that idea, that Star had a bad reputation. It was more local than Shaw's , which rapidly declined when the British bought it.I thought it had better products at a fair price.Plus Star seemd to have a better handle on their business then Shaws had on theirs.

Bonus story , Decision to sell is difficult for grocery families

'' After a half century of walking the aisles and greeting customers, Stephen Mugar was ready to sell the family business, Star Market. But he first wanted to get the blessing of his son, David, who was managing a store in Quincy.

“My response was, ‘Dad, look, you built this whole company from just about nothing, and you are entitled to do with it what you please,’ ” recalled David Mugar, who was 25 at the time.

So in 1964, Stephen Mugar sold the company his father had started to Jewel Tea Co. of Chicago, setting off a half century of change with a half-dozen owners. Star Market would never be the same — so much so that the younger Mugar refuses to shop there anymore. ''

http://www.bostonglobe.com/business/2014/07/29/sell-not-sell-that-questi...

Bermuda or Bulfinch triangle is confusing

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How can you have so many cars going in different directions? Glad to have a supermarket in that area love walking down those trails behind the Garden hopefully there would be a balance between the cars, bikers, pedestrians so that we can all survive. I nearly got run over by some bikers a couple months ago, strange how people who want to enjoy a leisurely bike ride just speed through the scenery and miss most of it.

Yeah, Star is the worst

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I was at a meeting the other day talking about development in Kendall Square, and there were people pushing for a grocery store here (which would be fantastic). Someone asked "how does the Star Market do over in University Park?" The answer was something along the lines of "not so well." Yeah, but you know why? Because it's Star Market. The prices are exorbitant ($14 for two pounds of Cabot Cheese that Market Basket sells for $8, for example). The produce is pretty terrible. Milk and eggs can be more than Whole Foods (which actually has competitive prices for those). It's depressing inside: they built a 1970s-style grocery store in 2000. And pretty much everyone in the neighborhood is close enough to a Trader Joes or Whole Foods that they can go there.

Star/Shaws' local market share has dropped by nearly 1/2 in the past 10 years as Market Basket and Roche Brothers eroded the overall market, and TJs and Whole Foods took higher end shoppers away. Star and Stop and Shop have the same issue many grocery stores have: once the original family lost control, corporate raiders realized that, in the short term, it's much more profitable to run a barely-staffed store with high prices than a well-staffed, well-supplied store with low prices and high volume. In the long run, of course, the stores decline, but who cares, money. (Giant in DC is an excellent example; in the '60s and '70s it was family-owned and decades ahead of its time, now it's basically Stop and Shop. Hannaford has been somewhat insulated from this since they have remained relatively independent of their megacorporate owner.) This is exactly why the Market Basket employees walked out and why the customers followed them: they knew that if it was bought it would be another Star in a few years.

Of course, any grocery store will certainly benefit the North End and the new housing near there, since the only option is Whole Foods, which is not really a full service grocery (they try, but still put more emphasis on organic soaps than staples at reasonable prices). And apparently Star is trying, and maybe the the new store will be built in the mold of more successful chains. But it would be so much better if a Roche or MB or Hannaford or Wegmans moved in. In other words, it's time to put Star out to pasture.

It is even more confusing

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It is even more confusing when the city is kicking in over $7 million to Star why they couldn't get something better.

but in all realness

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what other options are there?

Roche? Nah, they are going to have their hands full with the DTX store in the spring

Market Basket? As Swirls has said, Market Basket rarely leases a store's plot. They like to own the building they are in.

Stop & Shop? They've been offered a spot near by and had a store at Charles River Plaza (that became a Whole Foods).

Wegman's? Like Roche, I think they have their hands full with their new store opening up in the Fenway.

Hannaford? I don't think they are ready for a urban store yet. The closest store is Waltham and Route 1.

Whole Foods? There's already one in Charlestown (ex-Foodmaster) and Charles River Plaza (ex- Stop & Shop). Doubt they want yet another store.

So what other options are there? not many.

I'd also love to know what the layout inside will look like. The store has to be willing to adapt to smaller, non-traditional spaces. Star may have been the only one willing to do so.

Star in chestnut hill

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Went there a couple weeks ago for the first time. They did a great job with it. I'd imagine this one will resemble that store.

Whole Foods

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Whole Foods is in the process of opening a new store at the base of the "Ink Block" luxury complex (i.e., by where the Herald used to be printed) in the "SoWa".

Understandable

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And maybe Star can deliver on this one. I just hope they learned some lessons from the University Park Star, like competitive pricing, quality, and not having it be depressing every time you go in. Also, the layout of that store is bizarre, but they have to get around the hotel's elevator shaft.

Yeah

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that one is bizarre.. it was almost as bad as the old Star Pru location (when it was under where Legals is now). Not saying the new location on Huntington is any better now (I hate that layout), but just perplexing.

Wow - excellent summary of

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Wow - excellent summary of why the others wouldn't go there. Star is sort of the last one standing, and they happen to be trying to improve their reputation. The Shaws in Lower Mills just turned back into Star and is much better than when it was Shaws. Still pricier than Stop and Shop, but not noticeably so. And Market Basket isn't much of a force down this way, so we don't have a really affordable one for comparison.

As for this site, the Shaws (or is it now Star, too?) at the Pru seems to do well with folks living near there and the many office workers who stop there for lunch. My guess is this one will do ok, too - particularly when Whole Paycheck is the next closest option.

Giant

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Giant in DC is an excellent example; in the '60s and '70s it was family-owned and decades ahead of its time, now it's basically Stop and Shop. Hannaford has been somewhat insulated from this since they have remained relatively independent of their megacorporate owner.

or Stop & Shop became Giant. :)

(It's neither actually.. just brand re-alignment that was done a few years ago to save the big momma company money on multiple brandings)

Hannaford used to be a lot different when they weren't owned by Delihaize and still owned by the Hannaford Brothers. A Shop & Save (Hannaford's original name) opened in my hometown in 1987. It was a far different store back then, than it is now. Back in 1987, you were on waiting list to get a job there because it was an awesome retail place to work for.. now.. I think people would rather work at Wal*Mart.

yeah it has

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but my point was that it changed after Delhaize bought them and became less of a family run store.

I speak to Hannaford only as

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I speak to Hannaford only as a customer, but the employees there seem cheerier than the ones at your average Star. (On a scale of Star to Hannaford, yeah, they're probably closer to Star.) I'm not completely clear on the evolution of that store, and yes, everyone up north remembers back to the Shop N Save days of yore before they were sold to Delhaize, but they haven't seen the price increase/quality decrease that seems endemic to Star/Shaws.

Anyway, apparently the much-larger Food Lion has adopted some Hannaford policies, and Hannaford has developed the "Guiding Stars" program about nutrition (info here and here). I don't see Shaws about to jump in to that level of business. I have no idea how they treat their workers, but at least they seem to realize that they have customers.

As for Giant, the period from

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As for Giant, the period from the late '60s to the mid '80s seems like a parallel-universe Market Basket. The store did well enough that basically they were investigated by the Feds for unfair business practices but they found out that they just provided better products, service and prices than the competition, and people voted with their feet. Apparently at one point Giant controlled 70% of the DC grocery store market. And by being one of the earlier DC-area food stores to promote African Americans, their stores went mostly untouched during 1960s-era riots when others were burned to the ground.

More info here.

The grocery industry is fascinating because, as I pointed out above, family-owned or closely-held and operated businesses provide better service, prices and products (and usually jobs, wages and benefits, too), but take a long time to build, grow slowly and conservatively, creating a lot of equity, which corporate raiders set their eyes upon to try to bleed out in takeovers. Market Basket was the first time that everyone realized that it was in their best interest to keep that from happening. And so far, it's worked; hopefully they're not overleveraged and can continue running the store for the benefit of everyone except short term profiteers.

LOL, good gosh.

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okay and I thought I was good about Grocery Trivia!

Your story about Giant could mirror Stop & Shop along that era. Stop & Shop was a power house around here (from what I an told). It was the local grocery for decades here, and then the KKR issue happened in the 1980s and again in the early 1990s that removed the family (the Goldbergs) from power. Then KKR sold it to Ahold and we have this megacorporate overpriced thing now that sucks called Stop & Shop.

Read up what happened to Stop & Shop. Kind of sad how once a well positioned, well profiting, well liked store feel from its graces. Somewhere online there's the full story, read it. Interesting read.

The Rabb Family and Stop &

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The Rabb Family and Stop & Shop
http://ajhsboston.org/2014/03/31/the-rabb-family-and-stop-shop/

If you are interested, there it is. The Rabinovitz , or Rabb family started it. It had warehouses in South Boston and Readville ( wont mention the meat one in Marlboro ) .

Sidney Rabb ,a little like Arthur the good ,

Sidney R. Rabb (SRR, 1900-1985) was the oldest son of JR and Lottie Rabinovitz. He attended the Boston Latin School and Harvard University. He began working at Economy in 1918 after being discharged from the U.S. Marines, and by 1919 he had become the General Manager. He became the co-owner of the company in 1920 and Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer in 1930. Sidney Rabb often emphasized the personal element of business, and attributed this to his success. In a February 1970 issue of the Yankee Grocer he wrote “Successful supermarkets are built, not with bricks, but with people!”

http://ajhsboston.org/2014/03/31/sidney-r-rabb/

I think there's also a point

I think there's also a point to be made that I've never been in a Star Market with a straightforward layout. At least Stop & Shop tends to keep things together from store to store, so if you know one layout, you almost know them all. Star's layouts make no sense to me. And, even when you get used to one layout, they go ahead and change everything up. Awful.

Like

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Like Porter Square Star/Shaw's... Lived in PS for four years, I swear they 'remodeled' that store at least twice while I lived there.

Thank you.

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Again, this is why the whole "Whole Paycheck" thing drives me bananas. Star/Shaws is no bargain and for a lot of the stuff I buy, WF prices are better and/or you can buy in bulk.

I used "Whole Paycheck"

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I used "Whole Paycheck" derisively above, but I don't hate it. In fact it's part of my weekly food shopping for our family of 5 (along with Star or Stop and Shop). I like having it as an option for a bunch of things, but it is a lot more expensive than Star or Stop and Shop for most things and at least for my family buying all of our groceries there would be a lot more expensive than using the other stores. Of course, those other stores don't have an awesome burrito stand like the Legacy Place Whole Foods!

Any idea when this is going

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Any idea when this is going to open? I've been dreaming of a supermarket and liquor store on my commute home for the 4 years I've lived in the area.

the ghost of Shawmut Bank?

The drawing you posted appears to show a Shawmut Bank branch to the right of the entrance.

Shawmut Bank disappeared in 1995 when they merged with Fleet Bank. What's now the TD Garden was originally supposed to be named the Shawmut Center.

My first bank

It was bought out by about 50 banks since then. Or so it feels.

I was one of the customers who ended up at Fleet before the govt made them split off accounts and now I am stuck with Santander. Its such a pain to switch accounts.

I thought Santander came in

I thought Santander came in with the Fleet/BoA merger. My roommate had Santander as a result of that switch, and she had at least one instance where she deposited a check, the money showed in her account, but the money was never taken out of the other party's account.

If I remember correctly..That is correct.

I was with Fleet. But as part of the take over of Fleet by BOA, Fleet had to divest some of its accounts. So I ended up at Sovereign (Now Santander) without ever doing a thing. Actually, I still have my original Shawmut account number at Santander.

I would have moved years ago, but its my closest bank and changing banks sucks.

It also shows "Apex", which I

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It also shows "Apex", which I've never seen outside of Pawtucket, something called "Zazaza", and something else which appears to end in "YNK". I think it's just random storefront looking things, which are common in filings like this

What businesses in the UHub Mall

Since we know that Apex and Zazaza are kind of gibberish, it might be fun to think about what shops would be in this complex if we had UHub businesses?

There would have to be a sportsbar, given the location ... Suldog's?

A newstand for Adam, of course - Gaffin's News

What else - a Dvdoff Transport kiosk for arriving train passengers?

Additional polling locations. Downtown precincts have grown...

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Page 6. Government Efficiency and Civic Engagement
City of Boston
State Legislative Agenda
Mayor Martin J. Walsh
2015-2016 Session
http://www.cityofboston.gov/news/uploads/9660_19_16_20.pdf

An Act Relative to Voting Precincts in the City of Boston
(Senator Anthony Petruccelli and Representative Aaron Michlewitz)

The purpose of this Home Rule Petition is to establish additional polling location in precincts with greater than 3,000 registered voters in Boston.

Downtown precincts and those in the South Boston Waterfront have grown dramatically, due to large-scale, multi-unit developments.

Adding an additional polling location will shorten wait times for voters, alleviate overcrowding at polling places, and allow election officers to be more efficient and thorough.

These precincts include:
W3/P1 (North End),
W3/P6 (Beacon Hill, Financial District and Waterfront),
W3/P7 (South End), W3/P8 (Downtown and Chinatown,)
W5/P1 (Chinatown, Bay Village, Downtown), and
W6/P1 (South Boston to Broadway Station, and Waterfront).

There would be no change to precinct boundaries or representation.
http://www.cityofboston.gov/news/uploads/9660_19_16_20.pdf

And today

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The price of tea in China is $1.98/lb

Your post as much to do with the thread as my comment does about your post.

Wishin for Weggies

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I wish it was a Wegmans. Loved that place when I lived in Philly and I love the one in Burlington. Minus the crowds of course.

What was Always Planned for Site?

Was there always going to be something like this planned for the site? Did other developments fall through? I was always puzzled by that empty parcel, and at first assumed it was Big-Dig related.

This (essentially) was always planned

There have been a few different iterations, but the intention has always been a mixed use development with a pair of towers. The why it took so long question is complicated, but basically comes down to not having a ready developer with the right approvals in sync with a market ready to fund such a project. We seem to now have all the stars in alignment, and I happen to like this version quite a lot, so if something foes South, that will be a real shame.

Some spelling fun in the

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Some spelling fun in the document submitted to the BRA. You'd think the guys who prepared it aren't from around here or something! On the map in figures 3-1 through 3-6:

  • Charlston Bridge
  • Haverill Street
  • Comercial Street

They should focus on meat and

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They should focus on meat and fish instead of produce, since Haymarket is practically right across the street.