Economic Development Opens Lines of Discussion with City Council

July 31, 2013
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The City’s Economic Development team and the Revere City Council have re-established communications, and the result is a much happier Council and a more informed public.

Economic Development Director John Festa addressed the Council on Monday night, July 22nd, during Councillor Bob Haas’s Economic Development Committee following several criticisms over the lack of communication between the administration and certain councillors.

The updates included:

•Festa indicated that the new Market Basket was coming along nicely and would be likely opening during the first few weeks of September. He said the developer also has interest in perhaps continuing to develop things at Northgate, as was done in Chelsea.

“I get more calls on the Market Basket than any other entity and that includes the casino,” said Festa. “I think there is interest by the developers of the Market Basket in continuing on after they open the Market Basket. We think Northgate could really, really change and could be one of the best shopping areas on the North Shore.”

•The old Shaw’s site on the Parkway has been the source of numerous rumors as the old store had workers cleaning out the building after a burglary where all the copper and metal were stolen. Festa said there is no definitive development, but some opportunities exist for the owners – the Cerretani family.

“They’re still dealing with two developers and one national retail chain,” he said. “We’re looking for hotel development on that site. We think it can be a real gateway to the Beach. We’re pushing very hard for a hotel on the site and we’re really hoping they will not go with the retail chain.”

•The Hampton Inn on Lee Burbank Highway has contacted the City with preliminary plans to enlarge its existing hotel by 129 rooms.

“We working with them to try to move forward very, very soon,” said Festa. “That’s a good number, 129, and though it could change, it does show that there is a strong demand in Revere for hotel rooms.”

•The host mitigation agreement process in Boston is frustrating City officials, he said, but time has not run out.

“We’re not running out of time, but it’s been frustrating because we’re in a holding pattern,” he said. “We are hearing very positive things in the last few weeks from Boston. My opinion is an agreement will come very, very soon…My sense is you will see the referendum vote in October.”

•Owners of the front lot on the Boulevard (in front of the Surf Site) and owners of the former Chinese Food restaurant once owned by Donald Chen are looking for development and might consider combining their properties to sell.

“We think those sites are valuable sites and a couple owners on the Beach there might want to get together and sell as one parcel, which we’re not against,” he said.

•The Broadway Revitalization project is about ready to hit Phase 2, and that will include the imminent demolition of the old Police Station on Pleasant Street in order to secure downtown parking. Festa said the Broadway Revitalization Committee will meet in September and will discuss streetscape design and the desire to push hard for the sign improvement program.

“I’ve been getting a lot of interest from owners who are now willing to participate,” said Festa. “These are owners who were not willing to previously…We would like to get the ball rolling on that. Broadway will change drastically in the next two years if we continue to do the things we have planned.”

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