Potato chip plant crumbles; National Grid to the rescue


April 25, 2015
By Thor Jourgensen/The Daily Item

The former Boyd’s Potato Chip building fell to the wrecking ball this week and National Grid plans to build a new power substation on part of the 420 Lynnway site.

National Grid already operates a substation off the Lynnway, but the facility is due for an upgrade, said utility spokeswoman Mary-Leah Assad.

“National Grid plans to use part of the property for a new substation. The rest of the site’s use has not been determined yet,” Assad said.

facade of former Boyd's potato chip factory

Boyd's building

The former Boyd’s Potato Chip building on the Lynnway is being torn down. Owen O'Rouke/Item Photo

City Economic and Development Director James Cowdell said National Grid representatives and city officials will work together to develop the entire Boyd’s site. He said discussions will focus on ways to bring additional manufacturing jobs to the Lynnway.

“What we don’t want is to have a vacant lot there. We think there is a higher, better use. They are on the same page with us,” Cowdell said.

Cowdell said two factors made the Boyd’s building reuse cost prohibitive to National Grid: A gas holding tank beneath the building and the structure’s deterioration after being empty almost 10 years.

“They will clean up the site and work with EDIC to sell the land for development purposes,” he said.

Beyond constructing a new power substation, the Boyd’s site’s future will be dictated by the city’s Waterfront Master Plan. Drafted in 2007, the plan outlines building residential and commercial projects on more than 300 acres from the General Edwards Bridge to Market Street and along the inner harbor to the Nahant Rotary.

City officials last November hoped an initial proposal for a waterfront hotel might serve as an example of how the plan can reshape the Lynnway from a commercial strip to a redeveloped waterfront featuring residences and other uses.

Touted as a $9 million investment, the hotel plan did not materialize; however, Starbucks opened a location at 821 Lynnway this week.

Thor Jourgensen can be reached at tjourgensen@itemlive.com

Back to News