The Boston Market Terminal in the Chelsea/Everett industrial zone has sold to a national developer based in Boston for more than $28 million.
The large property of more than 17 acres abutting the New England Produce Center is located on Market Street, officially in Everett, on the City Line between Everett and Chelsea, and the new developer intends to build a brand new $100 million distribution center there for the changing needs of distribution in the economy.
The City of Chelsea and City of Everett have been involved with the ownership of Terminal – which is a regional hub for food supplies like fruits, potatoes, onions and herbs – regarding flooding issues for many years, to no avail. Now, a whole new ballgame has unfolded with The Davis Companies purchasing the terminal for $28.5 million on Nov. 25, according to property sale records for Middlesex County.
City of Everett assessments of the property are around $9.1 million for property tax purposes
Jonathan Davis, president of The Davis Companies, said the location is very strategic and they hope to rebuild a new distribution center on the 17.8 acre property.
“We’re exploring building a high-quality distribution center,” he said. “We’re going to demolish the old buildings there, but we are now in talks with the existing tenants for one-year extensions on their leases…We are in the early planning stages for a new state-of-the art distribution facility of at least 250,000 sq. ft. and it might be even larger…We anticipate at a minimum of 160 new permanent jobs and hundreds of construction jobs. The project is going to be a $75 million to $100 million project or more.”
Davis said the project will include a vigorous public-private solution to the flooding issues on the culvert that runs under the Terminal – something that has plagued the property and the area for years (see accompanying story). That fix is expected to get underway in the next few months.
He also said the location is very strategic for distribution facilities of products of all kinds. He said there isn’t much property like this available in the Greater Boston area. He noted the facility is three miles from Logan Airport and downtown Boston, as well as one mile from I-93.
“The location is just a very strategic location for distribution,” Davis said. “As Boston changes, there are fewer and fewer places where we can distribute the products that our businesses and our residents need…The two forces of e-commerce changing the way things are distributed, and the force of population growth in Boston, Chelsea and Everett, are changing the dynamics of a neighborhood like this. This Distribution Center is really a prime spot for last-mile distribution. The fact is there are very few opportunities for developing first-class distribution…”
Everett Planning Director Tony Sousa said the Terminal is in the traditional Industrial Zone, and the development of it will benefit both cities.
“It’s going to benefit Everett and it’s going to benefit Chelsea,” he said. “Obviously, with the improvements done to the culvert, it’s going to give everyone more security in the Commercial Triangle for redevelopment there…One thing we hear about a lot is that we need to end or mitigate flooding there. That is going to be done. It will be a tremendous enhancement we haven’t had in years.”
Davis said they aren’t certain what kind of distribution would be there.
It could be fruit, like now, or it could be something demanded by the new economy. When mentioning “last mile” distribution, most turn to the idea of Amazon or some service like it. Already Amazon occupies a portion of the Produce Market area on Beacham Street just over the line in Everett, but Davis said he had no preconceived ideas about tenants.
“The market is kind of going to dictate what tenants we attract,” he said. “It’s an interesting question. We will certainly talk to produce merchants. That has been a produce distribution facility since they moved from Haymarket 50 or 60 years ago, but we’re going to be talking to a variety of uses to see what the demand is.”
The Davis Companies has done a lot of commercial and industrial development around the country, though not that much in Boston – where at the moment they have been building high-end housing and working on innovation uses in the Seaport District of Boston.
Davis said they plan to file their project with Everett for review in the summer of 2020.