Grocery chain signs Polaroid site lease
Market Basket is officially coming to Waltham, and could possibly open a store in the city by the end of this year.
After months of internal corporate squabbling, the supermarket chain’s leaders have signed a lease with developers of a major commercial project at 1265 Main St. in Waltham, the former Polaroid property.
“The lease has been signed and I’m happy to announce that the Market Basket is coming to Waltham at the Polaroid site,” said Mayor Jeannette McCarthy.
The 280,000-square-foot development was previously slated to open in the first quarter of this year. However, a lawyer representing the developer said the plaza’s stores would now likely open by New Year’s Day.
Years of work on the entire retail and office development was halted in September as a result of the internal battle at Market Basket between factions of the Demoulas family. Construction resumed about three weeks later on other stores in the commercial space, including Marshalls, Starbucks, TD Bank, and various restaurants, while Market Basket leaders worked on resolving their issues.
The dispute at the supermarket company tied up payments of construction invoices and the processing of necessary paperwork, causing construction to cease on the grocery store, the site’s anchor tenant, and on the rest of the project in turn, McCarthy said.
The Market Basket fight pits president Arthur T. Demoulas against other family members, led by his cousin Arthur S. Demoulas, who had recently gained majority control of the company’s board.
Arthur T. had asserted that his opponents wanted 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. had sought the removal of Arthur T. as president, alleging that he ignored the board’s authority and spent money recklessly. In court papers, Arthur T.’s 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. says the transactions were approved by an outside arbiter.
The Polaroid site alongside Interstate 95 is being redeveloped by Retail Management and Development Inc. and 1265 Main LLC. A brother-in-law of Arthur T. is listed in state records as a principal of Retail Management and Development.
Scott Lang, a lawyer representing Retail Management, told the Globe in September that the Market Basket board had stripped Arthur T. of the power to make day-to-day business decisions. The board was then reviewing everything related to the company’s operations, which held up construction in Waltham, Lang said.
However, the company came to a tentative lease agreement with the developer by late November, according to Lang.
“After that, it just came down to working out the final issues,” he said.
Lang said the project’s most recent green light came after the Demoulas family’s company “reached an agreement regarding internal operations.” Lang said the Waltham site’s developer was not privy to what that entailed.
“We haven’t gotten involved in the back-and-forth issues between the board and management,” he said. “We were just trying to keep our eye on getting the lease signed.”