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What Should Go in the Old Stop and Shop Plaza?

We want to know what you would like to see in the plaza.

With the new , there has been plenty of discussion about the old Stop and Shop plaza in the center of town. At that session, officials said Stop and Shop is still collecting rent from Marshall's and therefore has been slow to consider redevelopment. Officials at that meeting also said it would be unlikely that Stop and Shop would lease to a competitor grocery store. Town Manager Paul Cohen also recently addressed the space at a l

But we want to know: If you were the developer, what would you like to see in this space? Tell us in the comments.

Anne H Vincent March 01, 2012 at 03:39 PM
Selfishly, I'd love to see affordable housing for the elderly.
Cee Virtue March 01, 2012 at 04:25 PM
Ms. Carter, which entry to Friendly's was it that was proposed to be closed? The one close to the crosswalk?
Maria Karafelis March 01, 2012 at 04:30 PM
Has anyone been to the Wayside Commons in Burlington, MA? Something along that idea with a green space/park with a hair salon/nail salon, speciality clothing, wedding/tux shop, H&R block financial services, cleaners, starbucks. The green space and park would be a great place to sit and enjoy a cup of coffee. A mini village of sorts.
Fran McDougall March 01, 2012 at 04:38 PM
One more time. The entire plaza area including S&S, Marshalls, Bank, Friendlys, & CVS is owned by a corporation with its base in the Netherlands. It is the mother company of Stop & Shop. It would not make ANY SENSE for them to allow another grocery store so close to the new S&S. CVS will be rebuilt in the recently fenced in area closer to Fishbones. The old building will be torn down. The TM has made the Town's wishes known to the Suits from S&S which would include a "Village" type project with mixed use. What a foreign corporation chooses to do in a small New England town is not known. We only hope that it will be a plan that we will be in agreement with.
Mark March 01, 2012 at 05:42 PM
Sue, Thank you for the detail. Can you please confirm if the site has been rezoned under the new Master Plan to include the option of housing and office space? If so, have there been any discussions of 40B in this space? Finally, please take note of all the feedback from your fellow Chelmsford residents. Fran, just to be clear, mixed use should not include housing. We need to preserve our downtown area. It is the only thing setting us apart from Billerica these days. And the TM is once again, out of touch regarding the desires of Chelmsford residents (based on the responses here). If S&S was so afraid of competition, why did it MOVE across from Market Basket? That is an empty argument. I have to assume when S&S obtained approval to build the new store, we were able to negotiate conditions on what would happen with the existing site. If not ... that’s poor leadership. You negotiate when you have leverage.
Barbara Quinn March 01, 2012 at 06:02 PM
Would love a Christmas Trre Shop and a Whole Foods but I know it will never happen. We will continue to have the eyesore there for many years!
Phil stanway March 01, 2012 at 06:02 PM
Hanniford, WallMart, Lowes and Market Basket are all off Rt 3 so Stop and Shop was at a disadvantage. This is a much better location than the center of town. Better traffic easy on and off to Rt 3.
Mark March 01, 2012 at 06:14 PM
Barbara, No you won't. You will have office space and 40B housing ...
Mark March 01, 2012 at 06:16 PM
A different eyesore in my opinion ...
Mark March 01, 2012 at 06:18 PM
Phil, If this is true, then S&S would have little to worry about if Wholefoods or any other specialty store wanted to lease this space (not to mention they would enter into a long term lease which would likely cover any loss of revenue due to the limited competition).
Mark March 01, 2012 at 06:37 PM
Last thought before it is back to work. When we approved the development of the new CVS, what requirements did we place on CVS to update the old location near Papa Ginos. Given that we already have a SUPER Walgreens and now a SUPER CVS, do we really need the 3rd site? What is the TM stance on this and what has he done to make sure that site is improved upon?
Sue Carter March 01, 2012 at 07:26 PM
Cee - it was the one by the crosswalk. Our concerns were that cars taking the turn around the library would cut across traffic to get into Friendly's. (Even though they could go straight into the Summer St. entrance.) Those of us in South Chelmsford see people making that turn on a regular basis.
Sue Carter March 01, 2012 at 07:32 PM
Mark- the Zoning has not changed on that site. The PB is looking to hire a consultant to help with updating specific items in the Zoning By-law including redevelopment issues. The Affordable Housing plan considers this site appropriate for mixed use (residential component can help revitalize the center). I have no knowledge of any 40B proposal for this site, but if it were, the 40B process grants relief from the local zoning making the underlying zoning less critical.
Jon Kurland March 01, 2012 at 08:58 PM
Cee - The town has been in negotiations with the owners for nearly a year to see if they will do something with the property that will be attractive and meet needs of the town. We are awaiting their response to some ideas we have. I can tell you that they NOT put any type of grocery store in that location. Regarding the idea of putting a fire station there. That is financially impossible. That space is assessed at $9,000,000. Even if we wanted to purchase or take by eminent domain only 33% of the space, it would cost us $3,000,000 before construction costs. That increases a $8,500,000 to $9,000,000 project to between $11,500,000 to $12,000,000. Why spend that kind of money when we can build what we need for $7,500,000 at a location that is better suited to quickly respond to most areas of town.
Paul March 01, 2012 at 10:39 PM
That argument doesn't hold water given there is another CVS only a 1/4 mile up the street. A Whole Foods or Trader Joe's is a different shopping experience althogther. I like the bowling alley idea. I miss the days when I could skip school and drink a six pack at Alpine Lanes.
Mark March 02, 2012 at 03:11 AM
Jon, Where do I go to see all of these ideas that have been proposed? I would like to see the documentation or emails. Mark
Mark March 02, 2012 at 03:20 AM
Sue, Thank you again for your informed response. Refreshing. However, all the more reason we need to keep the zoning as commercial on this site to thwart 40b. As for revitalizing, this isn't Cincinnati or Framingham. Again, this push to develop Chelmsford into an urban environment is misguided.
Cee Virtue March 02, 2012 at 11:55 AM
Oh, yes, I see cars cross the ribbed divider by Friendly's many times a week, and wonder at their driving skills that they don't understand it's a double white line and not to be crossed, ever.
Sue Carter March 02, 2012 at 01:36 PM
Mark- this isn't about pushing towards an urban environment, it's towards re-vitalizing our center and keeping the small businesses going. People are concerned about rundown and vacant buildings. The best way to prevent that is to keep our town center thriving to support the businesses and attract new ones when a site becomes vacant. Property owners have no incentive to maintain, or more importantly improve, their properties if they view the center as dying out. More foot traffic helps those small local businesses- just look at the impact Fishbones has had on the center.
Kevin March 07, 2012 at 07:26 PM
Mark raised an interesting question - when the new S&S site was approved, was there any conditions that they had to redevelop (or sell) the former site within a certain time frame? Is it possible to make these conditions...
Brian Jason March 09, 2012 at 03:05 PM
Having been to the Golden Corral restaurants driving north from Florida, and having been to the Golden Corral in Springfield, the food was always very good and the place always had a good crowd of people. Definately a win win for both the restaurant chain, the customers, and finally the Chelmsford town coffers. Why haven't the Board of Selectmen been pushing for something like this??
Sue Carter March 09, 2012 at 05:11 PM
Kevin- At that time (12 years ago) there were still multiple businesses in the plaza. We also couldn't tie one site to the other (although we asked) because they were not sure what the future plans were. Typically large companies hold individual properties in different names to limit potential liabilities which would have made it almost impossible to link them. I think if the new site hadn't been tied up in court for 11 years, it would have been easier to maintain the communications link to see what they are planning. (and perhaps they wouldn't have entered into longterm leases with Marshalls). Keep in mind the town can only ask - we cannot dictate what a private landowner does with properties other than the one before the Board or we would be sued all the time. (You need to pick your battles with court cases).
Happy Resident March 11, 2012 at 01:48 AM
A Dave & Busters would be great. Or a strip mall with stores like GAP/Old Navy, Sephora, a bakery, shoe store, and a restaurant. Chlemsford needs a few successful, nationally recognized stores in the center of town.
Swapnil Kashikar June 27, 2012 at 03:01 PM
Comment Part 1 ================ I like the "Chelmsford Village" concept with less asphalt and more greens. Technically, its "Lifestyle Retail" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lifestyle_center_(retail) Agree with Peggy Dunn: "Why look like every other town in the country when we can be uniquely Chelmsford! " Lets get Chelmsford even higher than #28 on Money magazine ranking of the best places to live in US. In my opinion, the renovation should have aims to: 1) Save driving time by bringing stores/facilities like B&N, YMCA etc. nearby. 2) Make Chelmsford even more desirable to live and work at - help raise property values. 3) Provide a relaxing, fun place for families to spend time. 4) Balance mix of amenities: grocery, bookstore, high end fast food restaurant (like Chipotle, Fuddruckers. No McD, Wendy's or the ilk please).
Swapnil Kashikar June 27, 2012 at 03:05 PM
Comment Part 2 ================ With those aims in mind, here are my specific suggestions: 1. Make all parking underground 2. Landscape the entire area with stores set in a village setting with meandering walkways, lawns and area for small performances overground. 3. Stores: B&N with Starbucks inside, Chipotle, Jamba Juice etc. 4. Do Not open these stores: McD or ilk, Chuckecheese or ilk, Clothing store, Home goods store, any ice-cream shop -- basically avoid any store that is bad for health, is superfluous in the area, or cheapens the Chelmsford experience. Planners can draw inspiration from some excellent lifestyle-center designs in midwest, west coast , north carolina etc. Here are two I have seen in person and liked: 1. The Shops at Friendly Center (Greensboro, North Carolina) 2. The Streets of Woodfield (Schaumburg, IL)
Irene June 27, 2012 at 04:50 PM
I would like to see "The Mill Store" at the Stop n Shop site. The closest one is too far, Nashua off exit 8!
Rohini Sivamurthy July 26, 2012 at 03:28 PM
I love the idea of asking the residents as what you prefer in terms of shops! My order of priority: 1. Indoor play area for kids and adults especially during winter 2. Fitness center 3. Hair cuttery 4. Dollar tree
Cresident March 24, 2013 at 01:15 AM
1. Whole Foods 2. Playground/park 3. Small bakery 4. Coffee shop 5. Think what would make people's life more pleasant. Chelmsford center has really nothing to offer and that space would be perfect point to start.
Cresident March 24, 2013 at 01:21 AM
If you want to raise property values, just bring the Whole Foods in. Please no Chipotle, Fuddruckers etc... it's just same junk food as McD and co. Think of the independent restaurants, something unique and more personal.
Swapnil Kashikar June 07, 2013 at 02:55 PM
@Cresident: I would have liked whole foods/Trader Joe's too but the town manager has ruled out any chance of that happening given that the plaza is owned by Stop&Shop and they will not allow competition. I disagree that Chipotle and Fudd are junk like McD,Wendy's, Taco Bell but yes, having an independent restaurant would be good too - for ex, "Not your Avg Joe's" like the one in Acton strip mall.

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