Urban grocer’s model aims to focus on fresh foods
SOMERVILLE – An urban grocer, Fresh Formats LLC, has filed building permit applications to open a fresh foods market at 240 Elm St. in Davis Square, the site of the former Social Security Building. Ongoing renovation of the building is underway and it is expected that the 11,000-square-foot ground floor will be a neighborhood market later this year.
The building, which is currently vacant, also includes 20,000 sf of office space on the two upper floors that will be occupied by Davis Square Architects, a long-time tenant prior to the renovation, and others. An additional 2,400 sf of office space in the basement will be leased separately.
“Neighborhood residents have been clamoring for a grocer to complement the neighborhood’s specialty grocers including McKinnon’s and Dave’s Fresh, so this is welcome news,” said Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone. “To have the kind of truly livable squares our community values, we need neighborhood grocery stores, as well as services that cover the full range of community needs from banks, salons, and eateries to pharmacies and doctor’s offices. It’s this mix that helps transform a simple business district into a vibrant town center.”
Fresh Formats LLC is an Ahold company. They developed the bfresh® concept which debuted in Allston, Mass. September 2015. bfresh emphasizes fresh foods including organic produce along with natural and bulk foods and conventional groceries. The site plans received by the City also include an onsite bakery and a “Little Kitchen™” offering prepared foods made from scratch.
“My hope is that we not only have a new fresh foods market in sight, but a new community partner that will be a good neighbor in the square,” said Ward 6 Alderman Lance Davis. “With the loss of places like Farmer’s Bounty, it’s good to see another grocer coming to help anchor the heart of the square.”