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Wegmans Food Markets is planning to enter the state of Massachusetts with a 135,000-square-foot location in the Boston suburb of Northborough, according to a published report. The new store will anchor a shopping and residential complex known as Northborough Crossing, which is currently under construction and slated to open next fall.
“Over the next five to seven years, we might have half a dozen locations in Massachusetts,” Ralph Uttaro, VP of real estate development for Rochester, N.Y.-based Wegmans, told the Boston Globe. “We’re looking for high-density areas with high levels of income and education.’’
Uttaro added that the 77-store grocer was seeking a license to sell beer and wine at the location, which would feature in-store seating and a restaurant.
Wegmans was originally supposed to open its first Massachusetts store in Westwood, at a development called Westwood Station, but the project is currently at a standstill after failing to attract funding in the midst of the recession.
Douglass Karp, a VP of Newton, Mass-based New England Development, which is working on both the Northborough and Westwood projects, noted in the article that the addition of Wegmans has helped secure tenants for 90 percent of Northborough Crossing’ 600,000 square feet of retail space.
“Anywhere they go they attract a lot of attention and loyalty,” Jon Hurst, president of the Boston-based Retailers Association of Massachusetts, told the Globe. “As the economy grows and consumers get more confident, companies like Wegmans see real opportunity.’’
Uttaro told the newspaper that beyond the Westwood development, the company hadn’t yet decided on its next Massachusetts site. “A lot of it depends on site availability,’’ he explained. “With our size and parking requirements, there aren’t opportunities on every corner.”