Construction resumes at former Polaroid site
Waltham officials announced Monday that construction has resumed at the multiuse development being created on the former Polaroid site, except for the Market Basket supermarket, the project’s anchor store.
The announcement came more than three weeks after Mayor Jeannette McCarthy said that work on the the 280,000-square-foot retail and office complex alongside Interstate 95 had been halted as a result of an internal battle between rival factions of the Demoulas family, which owns the Market Basket chain.
The dispute led to a suspension of payments to contractors and construction workers on the Market Basket store, which in turn caused all construction to stop early last month.
“I am happy to announce that all construction at the former Polaroid site is resuming, including the Marshalls site and restaurants, et cetera, except for Market Basket, which is still in process,” McCarthy said in a brief e-mail Monday.
The development had previously been slated to open in the first quarter of next year. Officials did not say when the development would now be open.
Scott Lang, a lawyer representing 1265 Main LLC and Retail Management and Development Inc., the companies developing the site, said work resumed after contractors feared that the impending winter weather would delay the project too long.
“The developers decided to go ahead and resume work on the infrastructure and other aspects before winter rather than have the entire thing be delayed,” Lang said. “There’s a tremendous amount of work that needs to be done on the site.”
Lang told the Globe last month that the Market Basket board stripped president Arthur T. Demoulas of the power to make day-to-day business decisions as part of its internal power struggle. The board then started reviewing everything related to the company’s operations, which held up paying construction workers in Waltham.
However, as of last week, the board had written checks for July payments, Lang said. But before they resume construction of the Market Basket parcel, the developers are waiting for August payments — which were due Monday and not received — and want to see a concrete system in place to pay them on time, Lang said.
“Right now we’re waiting on the board,” he said. “I don’t think there’s any doubt that before the Market Basket moves forward, we’d need the new board to work through that issue” of being paid regularly, he said.
Lang said he expects the Market Basket store will have to be completed before the opening of other shops and restaurants in the plaza — which include Starbucks, Marshalls, and Jake-n-Joes Sports Grille.
“The way you develop an important site like that is not by having empty storefronts or just a shell,” Lang said of the Market Basket parcel. “I think it will be coordinated in the near future one way or the other. I don’t think anyone intends to have that pad with a question mark around it for too much longer.”
The Market Basket fight pits president Arthur T. Demoulas against other family members, led by his cousin Arthur S. Demoulas, who recently gained majority control of the company’s board.
Arthur T. Demoulas has asserted that his opponents want control of Market Basket in part to approve greater cash distributions to the company’s nine shareholders. The board recently approved a $300 million distribution. Arthur S. Demoulas has sought the removal of Arthur T. Demoulas as president, alleging in court papers that he ignored the board’s authority and spent money recklessly.
Arthur T. Demoulas’ opponents accused him of “self-dealing” transactions in which he directed tens of millions of dollars to real estate businesses owned by his wife and brothers-in-law. Arthur T. Demoulas says the transactions were vetted and approved by an outside arbitrator.
A brother-in-law of Arthur T. Demoulas is listed in state records as a principal of Retail Management and Development, one of the firms developing the Waltham site.