Stop & Shop Acquires Neighboring Johnnie's Foodmaster Lease, But Plans Unknown
Is Stop & Shop planning to open a store across the street from East Arlington, or does it have other plans for the former West Somerville Johnnie's?
Stop & Shop has acquired the lease to the former Johhnie's Foodmaster site in West Somerville, just across Alewife Brook Parkway from the Arlington town line, but the supermarket company has not announced what it plans to do with the site.
"I don't have any news I can share yet," said Suzi Robinson, a spokesperson for Stop & Shop's New England Division. She said she's hoping to announce news about the site sometime during the week of Jan. 28.
The Johnnie's at 105 Alewife Brook Parkway in West Somerville closed in November of 2012, along with the company's nine other locations in Eastern Massachusetts, including the one at 808 Mass. Ave. in Arlington.
Six of those 10 stores, including the one in Arlington, were transferred to Whole Foods.
Stop & Shop already took over the lease of the former Johnnie's on Salem Street in Medford. It quickly renovated the site and officially re-opened it on Jan. 11.
According to a "lease assignment and assumption agreement," available at the South Middlesex Registry of Deeds website, Stop & Shop officially took over the West Somerville lease on Dec. 21, 2012.
The lease agreement says Johnnie's Foodmaster and Stop & Shop are "parties to a certain asset purchase agreement dated as of Nov. 2, 2012," of which the Alewife Brook Parkway lease is a part.
Robinson would not say how many former Johnnie's sites are part of that overall asset purchase agreement.
Knowing Stop & Shop took over leases in Medford and West Somerville, and knowing Whole Foods took over six of the 10 Johnnie's, the only remaining Foodmaster sites are in Lynn and Whitman.
Online registry of deeds searches conducted on Jan. 24 in Essex and Plymouth counties showed no records for the Lynn and Whitman addresses.
However, an article from the Lynn Daily Item said Johnnie's "accepted a buyout this summer"—the summer of 2012—"to make room for an undisclosed pharmacy." That doesn't sound like a Stop & Shop.
Patch couldn't find any news about the Whitman site. However, there already is a Super Stop & Shop just down the road from that location.
It seems unlikely Stop & Shop would acquire only two leases without plans to open stores at both locations.
An article in the Boston Herald, about the recent sale of Shaw's, noted supermarket real estate in the Northeast isn't easy to come by. It said the new owners of Shaw's might want to lease its new property to other supermarket players in the area, and it listed Stop & Shop, Hannaford, Market Basket and Whole Foods.
By that reasoning, Stop & Shop might be interested in opening a store in the West Somerville site or leasing the space to another supermarket.