Robinson Continues To Prod Market Basket for Plans

Councilor-At-Large Leo Robinson continues to look for answers about the potential for future development at the Market Basket property.

At Monday night’s meeting, the council approved a request by Robinson to have the Market Basket owners, the DeMoula family, or their representatives appear before the council to discuss additional future development.

“There has been an agreement since 2005 that they were going to take and develop their site, and pretty much nothing has taken place other than a few months ago, they purchased a liquor license to build a store on their property,” said Robinson. “But they have still been unable to come to this council and talk about what the rest of their plans are for this development.”

Several of the councilors raised questions about the 2005 memorandum of agreement the city has with Market Basket, and how much leeway the city has to get Market Basket to develop the property.

“Can we make these people do something, can we say to them, this is what we want you to build?” asked District 6 Councilor Giovanni Recupero.

Council President Calvin Brown said those were the types of questions that could be addressed during a subcommittee meeting.

Councilor-At-Large Damali Vidot made and then later withdrew a motion asking that Robinson’s motion be amended so that it did not include the language about the memorandum of agreement.

“All we are doing is sending a communication to go to the City Manager, and he will reach out to the DeMoulas requesting that they come before this body so we can have a discussion on whether or not they are going to go forward and do some development,” said Robinson. “Since 2005, they haven’t done anything … all we are asking for is for them to come in and asking what their plan is. By us just sitting back, we are losing tax revenue.”

City Manager Thomas Ambrosino said there was a memorandum of agreement between the city and Market Basket that dates back to 2005, but he said he does not believe there is anything in it that requires Market Basket to do anything further with their property.

“The city has no power and no authority over them to force them to develop this site in any way that they don’t want to do,” said Ambrosino. “On the contrary, there is nothing that prevents the council from asking them to voluntarily come to a meeting to discuss the potential future plans for the site. The city, in my tenure, has had a fair amount of conversation with them to try to prod them to develop, but has never had much luck in getting them to do anything.”

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