Harvest Co-op plans new JP store

John Ruch
FOREST HILLS—Harvest Co-op Markets is planning a new grocery store as part of a retail/office development on Washington Street south of the Forest Hills T Station.

The new market would be 9,000 square feet and could open in late 2012, Harvest General Manager Mike St. Clair told the Gazette. The existing Harvest at 57 South St. would remain open, though its offerings might change, St. Clair said. Harvest, a member-owned co-op based in Cambridge, recently announced the new store on its web site. Also announced is a new Harvest Co-op for the Fenway as part of the Yawkey Station redevelopment.

The new JP store “will offer a full variety of fresh and organic produce, meat, seafood, deli, grocery and health/wellness products,” St. Clair said in an e-mail to the Gazette.

“We have been looking to grow in Jamaica Plain for years to better serve our members and customers with a bigger store, larger product offering and dedicated parking,” said St. Clair, when asked whether the expansion has anything to do with Whole Foods Market coming to JP.

The South Street store is in a good location, but “it is quite small and a challenge to offer a complete grocery shopping experience,” he said. That shop is in a storefront attached to a house with no parking lot.

“We hope to be in this location for a long time,” St. Clair said of the existing JP store. “Our plans are to refine the product variety to best suit the needs of the neighbors in such a challenging facility.”

Last year, Harvest attempted to open a Milton store as part of a development including a CVS Pharmacy. The town meeting rejected that plan due to noise, traffic and property-value concerns, as the Quincy Patriot Ledger reported at the time.

While St. Clair would not name the development team for the new JP store, he confirmed that it is planned for a vacant MBTA parcel on Washington Street at Ukraine Way. Jamaica Plain-based WCI Corp. has a longstanding plan to build a retail/office building there featuring a 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.

The announcement at www.harvest.coop says that the grocer has signed letters of intent with developers on the JP and Fenway projects, and that “neither [project] is certain” to happen.

“The developers selected Harvest because of our excellent reputation in the Metro Boston area for our high-quality and healthy foods, our many years of community involvement and our commitment to environmental stewardship,” the announcement said.

A city-led community planning process for several vacant MBTA parcels around the Forest Hills T Station, which last years and wrapped up in 2009, pegged a grocery store as a top local desire, as the Gazette previously reported.

WCI Corp. won development rights to two of the MBTA lots flanking Washington Street at Ukraine Way.

Its plans for the western parcel, known as “Arboretum Place,” included a 32,000-square-foot building, including a grocery store, 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.

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

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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