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Roxbury’s Parcel 3 developers secure BJ’s as anchor tenant

Yawu Miller
Yawu Miller is the former senior editor of the Bay State Banner. He graduated from Dartmouth College in 1990 and has written for the Banner since 1988.... VIEW BIO
Roxbury’s Parcel 3 developers secure BJ’s as anchor tenant
Members of the Roxbury Strategic Master Plan Oversight Committee met at the Dudley Library on Monday. The P-3 Partners LLC development team announced an agreement with BJ’s Wholesale Club to lease 90,000 square feet on Parcel 3. (Photo: (Banner photo))

BJ’s Wholesale Club has signed a letter of intent for a 90,000-square-foot space in Parcel 3, a move that gives the P-3 Partners LLC development team the needed anchor tenant for its million-square-foot Roxbury development project.

“All of the business terms are agreed to,” said Geoffrey Feldman, vice president of Greater Boston for Feldco Development Corp., which is partnering with Elma Lewis Corp. on the development of the Lower Roxbury parcel, located across Tremont Street from the Boston Police Department headquarters.

The letter of intent was announced Monday night at a meeting of the Roxbury Strategic Master Plan Oversight Committee. Committee members congratulated members of the Parcel 3 development team for the commitment, which will allow the project to secure funding for construction.

“We’re happy for them,” said the oversight committee’s chairman, Darnell Williams. “This bodes well for their project.”

The acquisition of an anchor tenant gives the Parcel 3 development team a needed shot in the arm for the project. The team’s plans for the project include 400,000 square feet of large retail space, 50,000 square feet of shops fronting Tremont Street, 300 units of market-rate apartments, a 175-room hotel and a 21,000-square-foot facility for the National Center of Afro-American Artists.

Feldco Development will develop the retail and housing space, while Elma Lewis will develop the museum space.

The team’s plans for the retail building calls for BJ’s to occupy the second level of a three-story building. Space for smaller retailers will be available at street level and larger retailers will be located on the third level.

The project will also include a 1,600-car garage.

Feldman said the construction on the retail space could begin within the next year and the project could be finished by 2017.

The Parcel 3 developers had previously courted Northeastern University and Partners Healthcare as potential anchor tenants for their development.

One of the largest undeveloped parcels of land in Roxbury, Parcel 3 has been vacant since the 1970s, when the state took and cleared land in the Southwest Corridor for its planned extension of Interstate 95. While the highway project was derailed by community opposition, the demolitions left wide swaths of land fallow for decades.

Dudley Square Main Streets Executive Director Joyce Stanley said the development will help revitalize the long-vacant stretch of Tremont Street.

“I think it will be great for that area of the city,” she said.

She noted that BJ’s, which caters to shoppers who purchase food items in bulk, could compete with local businesses like Tropical Foods, which is expanding into a new location on nearby Melnea Cass Boulevard.

“The question is, what is BJ’s going to do for the community?” she said. “What will they pay in wages? Will they hire local managers?”

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