Could another grocery store take over the space Manomet’s Stop and Shop once occupied?
That’s certainly the impression State Representative Matt Muratore got following discussions with the building’s owners, Denver-based Black Creek Group.
“We’ve worked on this for several months now,” he told the Manomet Village Steering Committee, Thursday night. Muratore said his office spoke to Michael Moran, who works at Black Creek’s office in West Hartford, Connecticut, according to his Linkedin profile.
Moran was less than forthcoming about what Black Creek planned, Muratore said. It took several tries to simply get in touch and when they did, Moran didn’t want to say much, Muratore said. Muratore said he wasn’t sure if the lack of information was because Moran didn’t know or simply wanted to keep plans under wraps. When Muratore expressed the local desire that the new tenant be a grocery, Moran expressed the same desire, he said.
Keeping it a grocery store isn’t entirely out of the goodness of Black Creek’s heart. The fact that the equipment is already there makes such a tenant less costly since renovations won’t be needed.
Muratore hasn’t been in touch with Moran or Black Creek since then. That’s not for lack of trying. He called prior to his meeting with the MVSC to no avail. The company also hasn’t returned calls from Plymouth Director of Planning and Development Lee Hartmann.
Some in attendance questioned Black Creek’s apparent lack of local connections. “When private enterprise doesn’t say much early on, that goes a long way to community not welcoming them,” said resident Paul Jacobs. Town Meeting Member Steve Lydon asked if they had a local broker. “It seems like he doesn’t know the market,” he said. Muratore responded that the company seemed to handle such matters in-house.
As far as who could move into the space, those attending the meeting had their suggestions. Ideas included contacting local grocers such as Perry’s Market, the Market in the Pinehills or Foodie’s, along with such national chains as Trader Joe’s and Aldi’s. Muratore said he had also been contacted by a local resident interested in the idea of starting a food co-op. He said he would reach out to those local businesses to gauge their interest.
Muratore shot down one pervasive rumor, that the property would be converted into some kind of affordable housing. “I think Lee Hartmann would have known that, and that’s not the case,” he said.
He was confident Black Creek was looking to bring a new grocery into the space, though. “They were very interested in keeping it a grocery,” he said. “The fact they’re not getting back to me tells me they have something in mind.”