- Written by Anastasia E. Lennon / The Patriot Ledger Anastasia E. Lennon / The Patriot Ledger
- Published: 10 September 2020 10 September 2020
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“This is a project that at first I was opposed to because this is a retail shopping center and we are now, in my opinion, introducing a light industrial use,” said Robert Luongo, director of the Department of Planning and Community Development.
However, Luongo said both Stop & Shop and RK Centers have been working in “good faith,” and that their agreement to turn the front of the lot into retail space made the “pill a little easier to swallow.”
Frank Marinelli, attorney for RK Weymouth LLC, said the combined 89,000 square feet has sat vacant for almost three years. He cited the substantial growth of online shopping and the challenges facing brick and mortar stores as reasons to reuse part of the retail space for a more commercial use.
Peapod provides an important household delivery service and convenience, particularly under the prevailing COVID circumstances,” Marinelli said.
According to Marinelli and Stop & Shop, the facility will operate 24 hours a day to accommodate increased demand of food delivery services due to the pandemic.
There will be approximately 25 to 35 delivery vans parked on site in the evening, all of which will make about two delivery trips per day in a 20- to 30-mile radius.
Delivery of bulk products will be made by two to three tractor trailers, which will only enter and exit through the Washington Street entrance in the back, according to site plans.
Luongo said the town’s traffic engineer thinks the intersection of Washington Street with the service road can handle the vehicles coming to and from the Peapod facility. However, if issues arise, the petitioner must reevaluate and change the plans.
The smaller vans will be registered in Weymouth so the town will receive the excise taxes. Other benefits to the town include a promise by Stop & Shop to do a “major renovation” of its existing store on Middle Street in 2023, and to donate food to local pantries and organizations in need.
“I do think this is a good project, even without some of the concessions Stop & Shop has made,” said Jonathan Moriarty, a member of the board. “It provides what I think is essential use at least evolving in this pandemic age and even into the future. This is one project that brings longevity not only to the town, but to RK’s use and ownership of the property.”