Local and state officials, along with many local residents, came to the future Wegman's location on 3rd Avenue last week for a groundbreaking event.
Though no shovels were actually put in the ground, the event was a celebration of the beginning in the next stage of the site's development. The Wegman's is planned to open in the spring of 2014.
Wegman's, which has signed a 30 year lease with Nordblom with options to renew, is planning to build a 135,000 square foot facility with adjacent parking for 800 vehicles. The plans include a 14,000 square foot mezzanine overlooking a food court, an outdoor café and outdoor cooking classes. Patrons will be able to enter and exit Wegman’s from Third Avenue, Fourth Avenue or from Network Drive via Second Avenue.
"Wegman's is the best in its class," said Todd Fremont-Smith, Senior Vice President of Development for Nordblom in an interview before the ceremony. "What makes it special is the wide variety of prepared food and the food court. We think this will be a great service to the office workers in the park. It will be lake a Faneuil Hall right here in Burlington."
Fremont-Smith also told Patch that the planned Kings Bowling set to go into the park is also on schedule and has the necessary permits to begin construction.
During the ceremony Burlington Town Administrator John Petrin said he was happy to welcome Wegman's to town.
"Wegman's tends to create a lot of excitement," he said. "And they have great apple pie."
"On behalf of the Burlington officials and residents of Burlington I want to welcome Wegman's," Petrin continued. "I Look forward to having them here."
Human Resources Manager for Wegman's Marybeth Stewart said the store is happy to be in town.
"We are excited to be part of the 3rd Ave. project," she said. "We offer a unique shopping experience and we hope you will all visit. Thanks to the town of Burlington and to Mr. Petrin for the welcome."
Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Greg Bialecki was also at the ceremony. The NorthWest project is supported by a Mass Works grant from the state. The construction work is part of Phase 1 of Northwest Park’s retail component, supported by $3.5 million in funding through the MassWorks Infrastructure Program.
According to a release sent out after the ceremony by Bailecki's office, in the fall of 2011 the town was awarded a second MassWorks Infrastructure Grant for $1.5 million. The grant continues to demonstrate the strong private-public partnership between the Administration, Town of Burlington and the Nordblom Company. The Fourth Avenue Improvement Project will facilitate the redevelopment of the office component of Northwest Park, in conjunction with the retail portion.
“The MassWorks program is an integral part of the Patrick-Murray Administration’s commitment to improving our infrastructure, creating jobs and spurring economic development in every corner of Massachusetts,” said Bialecki. “This program matches the objectives of our long-term economic development plan, which includes empowering our local and regional economies.”