Market Basket to fill GE 'Factory' site

January 24, 2013
By Thor Jourgensen/The Daily Item

The site of General Electric's Factory of the Future is poised to become a supermarket employing 500 full- and part-time workers.

Chain owner Demoulas' plan to open a Market Basket on Federal Street land is in the final stages of a purchase agreement.

"Market Basket is planning to go to this site. They want to get started on this right away," Lynn attorney James Moore confirmed Wednesday.

Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy and others said the scope of Demoulas' interest in the GE site is broad sweeping. The Factory of the Future site is one of the city's largest parcels, dominating the city's center, bound by Federal, Western, Spencer and Waterhill streets, and undeveloped for 25 years.

View Vacant Factory of the Future site in Lynn in a larger map

Its current owner, General Electric, is the city's largest employer but it hasn't used the once-high-tech site since the 1990s.

"This is wonderful news," said Economic Development and Industrial Corporation Director James Cowdell.

Moore said Demoulas, owner of 69 Market Basket stores in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, will convert the first floor of General Electric's Factory of the Future building on the corner of Western Avenue and Federal Street into a Market Basket with the store entrance facing Waterhill Street.

"It brings life to that parcel. It's going to result in even more retail coming to that area," said Kennedy.

Moore said 40 Federal Street Realty Holding LLC, managed by Swampscott resident Charles Patsios, is ready to buy Factory of the Future and the 22 acres of vacant, asphalt-covered land it sits on.

"I've dreamed for years of seeing a 'for sale' sign on that property," Kennedy said Wednesday.

Moore, 40 Federal Street Realty Holding LLC's attorney, said 40 Federal and GE are in a due diligence period with environmental specialists for 40 Federal reviewing studies undertaken on the GE land and waiting for city officials to change the site's zoning from heavy industrial to business.

The 60-day diligence period will be followed by a 30-day period in which Moore said 40 Federal will complete its deal with General Electric based on its due-diligence evaluations.

"In 90 days, they could own it," Moore said.

Council President Timothy Phelan said zoning changes will be put on "the front burner" of council business after Demoulas meets with West Lynn residents and others.

"I'd like to see this move as expeditiously as possible. Hopefully, we can roll out the red carpet and welcome a great developer to the city," Phelan said.

Demoulas spokesman David McLean could not be reached for comment Wednesday, but Moore said he met with Demoulas' executives, including president and chief executive Arthur Demoulas, last Friday.

"He said he loves to go into cities like Lynn and do these transactions. He's an older city guy," Moore said.

Cowdell said job creation is the bottom line with the Demoulas deal and he credited Kennedy with working to bring the main players in the GE land purchase to the table. Kennedy said she began to meet with River Works representatives six months after taking office in 2010 and pushed to sit down with the international firm's corporate executives to discuss the Factory of the Future site.

"We were able to negotiate face-to-face," she said.

Kennedy said Demoulas' plans for a Lynn Market Basket fills a void left by Johnnie's Foodmaster's departure late last year from Boston Street.

Moore said Demoulas will lease its local site from 40 Federal Street and employ 100 full-time workers and 400 part-timers. Kennedy said the company has a good reputation for hiring young people and instilling in them a sense of responsibility and discipline.

Ward 6 City Councilor Peter Capano said Demoulas attorneys reached out to councilors Tuesday night and mentioned interest in changing the site's zoning. Capano said a letter to West Lynn residents and business owners will be mailed out today or Friday with a February meeting date to discuss Demoulas' plans.

"My main concern is getting input from neighbors. We want to make sure we cover all bases," Capano said.

Thor Jourgensen can be reached at



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