Council takes next step on Market Basket project tonight

February 12, 2013
By Thor Jourgensen/The Daily Item

City Council members set the stage for the Demoulas supermarket chain to bring up to 500 jobs into Lynn with a scheduled vote tonight to change zoning for the 22-acre Factory of the Future site from heavy industrial to business.

City leaders and a local attorney for Charles Patsios, the Swampscott realty holding company principal poised to buy the Western Avenue land, said the zoning change is a crucial next step in a 90-day process clearing the way for Demoulas to renovate General Electric’s former Factory of the Future into a Market Basket store.

The zoning change, slated for council ordinance committee action at 6:15 p.m. tonight, would alter the zoning status of land bound by Western, Centre, Marion, Waterhill and Spencer streets.

Lynn officials: Zoning ordinance needs overhaul

“Obviously, we support it,” said Economic Development and Industrial Corporation Director James Cowdell.

Cowdell and Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy two weeks ago said Patsios’ pending acquisition of the Factory of the Future building and surrounding land from General Electric allows a long-vacant block in the city’s center to be redeveloped.

Attorney James Moore last month said Patsios’ company is in a due diligence period in advance of completing his purchase that is dependent, in part, on the city changing the Factory of the Future zoning and a review of environmental studies of the GE land.

Moore added that Demoulas, once the sale is completed, plans to lease a renovated section of the Factory of the Future building facing Waterhill Street site as a Market Basket. He said DeMoulas plans to hire 100 full-time workers and 400 part-timers.

Kennedy has described the supermarket chain’s interest in a Lynn location as a catalyst for additional development on the Federal Street site.

Former Lynn Area Chamber of Commerce president and downtown business owner Eric Ciccone on Friday praised city officials for making development on the land a reality.

“I’m excited to see Market Basket coming to town, and to see the city is agile and flexible enough to take advantage. In years past, it wouldn’t have been positioned to do so,” he said.

West Lynn residents can comment on and ask questions about the Market Basket plan at a meeting scheduled for Saturday at 9 a.m. at the Drewicz School.

Thor Jourgensen can be reached at



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