woo hoo...trader joe's is finally coming to somerville...

according to boston.com, tj’s will open in the old sports authority space in assembly square in the 3rd quarter of 2017. can’t wait!


That should make the parking situation over there even better.

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I would have preferred that they moved into the old Star Market space on Broadway. But, word on the street is, the landlord was asking an unreasonable amount of money. Assembly Square has become a shopping mall and is of less and less interest. Not sure that this will become part of the regular shopping routine unless I can figure out when Assembly Square isn’t wildly busy and crazy.

That landlord is apparently the mayor’s wife, and Curtatone has been anti-commerce for as long as I’ve known about him, which is why we don’t have an Ikea there–if he couldn’t have a glitzy multi-use tower he would prefer to have an abandoned mall with lots of space for drug deals.

I believe that you are incorrect. The owner of the Star Market parcel is the Cohen [i.e. Star Market] family. As to IKEA, they chose not to open in Somerville due the legal challenges brought by members of the East Somerville community. [Curatone was on the other side of this argument, and tried to sweep these protesters under the rug, placating them with small give backs.] Of course, eventually, all legal barriers were gone and Assembly Square was built. But by then, IKEA’s sales worldwide were in decline and a new store no longer made as much sense economically.

I have never found Curatone to be anti-commerce. If anything, he is too pro-shiny-new-object-commerce. Interesting perspective.

the old star market space on broadway is way too small. plus, the resulting traffic on broadway would be a nightmare.

re ikea and assembly square: there was a lot of community opposition, so the process dragged on for years. what i heard from someone who was involved in the process was that the planning board wanted ikea to have the garage underground, which would have increased their buidling costs unacceptably. i do wish they had been able to make it work. i would have loved to have an ikea i could get to by public transportation.

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I was going to say the same. It’s already nearly impossible to find a space in that lot, especially with the main Assembly parking lot closed. The new parking garages nearby should help when they open soon.

This makes me wonder in which stores TJ’s is going to have liquor. So far, when the law was three stores per company, they had beer and wine at Cambridge (MemDr), Brookline, and Framingham. The Massachusetts law is creeping up the number of stores and I think it’s supposed to be 5 in 2016 and 7 in 2017. Any ideas about other stores that now have or will carry alcohol soon?

A few years ago when they had the liquor store referendum, the Burlington staff said they had the new floor plan all ready to go if the law passed. Alas, it didn’t then, but hoping maybe Burlington or Arlington gets liquor now.

I never saw him take a strong stand against the anti-IKEA NIMBYs. More like kowtowing. If he had fought harder in… 2001-ish? we would have gotten the store before the moratorium on new construction (which has now been lifted–Indianapolis is finally getting one.) And Somerville has never allowed 24 hour markets, leaving that revenue for Cambridge. I’ve also heard from people in the restaurant business that Cambridge is much easier to work in/with than Somerville. I’ve always hoped that Ikea would open a store in Nashua or Salem to rub his nose in it.

Here’s a few articles on Ikea which make it pretty clear that it didn’t match Curtatone’s vision. Apparently Walmart also wanted to open a store there but wa hut down,.


Is that closed? The website still lists hours and directions… It’s the store right near Bed Bath & Beyond, correct? From my side of Somerville, I’m not sure a Trader Joe’s there would be any closer than the Fresh Pond one, and then I’d have to split up my trips and hit a different Whole Foods. Plus I often swing by Iggy’s when at the Fresh Pond TJs. However, if they had liquor, that would be a draw. Their house brand beers are excellent.

sports authority recently announced that they were closing all of their stores. not sure of the time frame. tj’s is expected to open in that location in 3rd quarter 2017.

i don’t have a car, and while i’m able to get to other tj locations, assembly square will be a lot easier. buses going to sullivan and wellington stop in front of bed and bath, which is right next door. so, i’m psyched!

My husband was on that task force, and we are abutters to Assembly Place. THANK GOD IKEA did not go in there - who needs it?

Well, people who shop at IKEA and don’t enjoy the hour + drive to Stoughton in heavy traffic, I’d say. It could have been a fantastic asset to the area. But now we have a tremendous amount of space open for a variety of developments in Assembly, so perhaps it was for the best in the long run.

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NIMBY’s aside, there was a lot of support for IKEA. I don’t personally shop there so I am happier to see other things being developed however I think I am in the minority.

and those of us who don’t have cars would certainly appreciated being able to get to an ikea via public transportation, then a short cab ride to transport large purchases.

The roadway infrastructure as it is now simply cannot support IKEA traffic. I would be gridlocked on my street for hours every Saturday morning. These big boxes are best situated right off a highway.

Part of the IKEA plan included widening roadways and expanding exit lanes to accomodate the hugely increased traffic. But I understand that local residents weren’t happy about that, either. I guess several dozen smaller stores and restaurants are better than one single huge retailer for that area.

I am fascinated by this argument. May I ask a few questions? How is the traffic generated by IKEA less tolerable than the traffic for the current strip mall, all those mediocre restaurants, a huge office building and a train station? Would it have been better if they had proposed moving into the the old Circuit City/current Home Depot area? Assembly Square is, I think, right off the highway. It is closer to the highway than Rockingham Mall for example.

To be honest, I was really pleased with the IKEA plan, but had several friends on that task force who fought tooth and nail against it using the same traffic argument. I am just not sure that the Disneyland Instant City Center that we ended up with is that much better. And with all the tax giveaways, the city won’t see as much gain as I had hoped for.

I would really like to hear how why the IKEA plan and what actually has been built are different to those of you who live right in the area. [I really hope that you take this in the spirit in which it was written. I am really interested in your thoughts.]

A few points (and I fully appreciate the spirit of the question). I posed the question to my husband (a transportation infrastructure professional and a member of the Mystic View Task Force that opposed the project):

No one takes the T to a furniture store unless they have free shipping which they don’t. They take the biggest vehicle they own or can borrow. Also IKEA in Stoughton closed down the entire traffic movement of the town on a weekend day. The State of NJ had to build a ramp off 95 to handle the backup to the IKEA in Elizabeth NJ on weekend days.

IKEA would not agree to a multi-level store (ensuring a weak tax base for Somerville) nor structured
parking. They did finally but then pulled out due these onerous requirements as well as the need to provide the local match for the transit stop. A good commercial tax base requires multiple floors – like the Partner’s HQ… and housing…

No other growth is associated with a big-box store. There would be no “place” - it would be a box store with acres of parking lot.

Just to be clear, they pulled out of Somerville at the same time as they pulled out of all other stores under development across the US. It can be theorized that the demands of the neighborhood drove them away, but they essentially cancelled all company growth due to the slow economy at the time.

“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold

Market stall in Lima
Credit: TXMX 2