New Harvest may be part of T parcel plan

April 19, 2011
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FOREST HILLS—Harvest Co-op Markets’ plan for a new grocery store appears to be part of a local company’s previously approved redevelopment of a vacant MBTA parcel on Washington Street.

Jamaica Plain-based WCI Corp. in 2009 won development rights to two vacant MBTA lots flanking Washington Street at Ukraine Way. Its plan for the western parcel included three-story office/retail building featuring an unnamed grocery store.

WCI spokesperson Brian McGinley declined to comment on Harvest’s new store announcement and not confirm or deny its involvement in the WCI plan. He referred questions to Harvest, which declined to identify the developer and the specific location of its new store.

Harvest is planning a 9,000-square-foot new store as part of a new development in that section of Washington Street, as the Gazette first reported. Harvest referred to the project as the “Arboretum Project,” and WCI is calling its project “Arboretum Place.”

“There’s a lot of stuff up in the air,” McGinley said when asked about the status of WCI’s redevelopment of the parcels.

“We are committed to [bringing] a grocer into the neighborhood,” WCI head Kevin Walker said last year at a public meeting about the project. Conceptual drawings distributed by WCI showed a storefront with signs saying “Grocer” and “Natural Foods.”

WCI’s plans for the western parcel included a 32,000-square-foot building with a plaza in front. The plan for the eastern parcel, on the T station side of Washington, involved a 12,000-square-foot office building with ground-floor retail.

The plan includes about 50 on-site parking spaces on the two parcels, as well as on-street parking. Nearly half of the parcels’ area would remain open space.

In community meetings last year, the WCI plan was favorably received, but traffic was a local concern.

WCI is a developer and contractor whose work includes various residential and commercial buildings around JP, including the company’s headquarters at 500 Amory St.

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