Roche Bros. Eye Davis Square for New ‘Brothers Marketplace’
If Alderman Jack Connolly had a dollar for every time he heard someone in Somerville say that the city needs a grocery store in Davis Square, he’d be “a pretty wealthy guy.”
Soon, those calls for an “urban market” could come to fruition.
Officials announced this week that the Roche Bros. chain is looking to open a “Brothers Marketplace,” a small-scale grocery shop that offers locally-sourced produce, fresh fish and meats, and a café, at 240 Elm St. in Davis Square. The market would fill the Social Security Building, which has been vacant since 2010.
“I think they hit a homerun, and it will be a homerun for people who want to go to the square and do everything they need to do in one stop,” said Connolly, who posted a rendering of the proposed plans on his Facebook page this week. “Having this there will be another choice for people, and it will be one of the most significant developments here in the square in the last 20 years.”
On September 10, developers of the marketplace will host a community meeting on site to explain their proposed plans for the property. Connolly said from there, Roche Bros. representatives will file the proper paperwork to the city’s Planning Department to try and move the project forward.
According to preliminary details from Davis Square Architects, Somerville officials said the Brothers Marketplace would occupy roughly 13,300 square feet of the property, and displace the current Dunkin’ Donuts located in that building, moving it from the corner of Elm and Chester Streets to another space in the same building. Brothers Marketplace would then take over nearly all of the first floor, and a health club would move into the second floor of the building and part of the third floor, competing with the nearby Boston Sports Club.
Connolly said the corner market would be ideal for people who want to get food “every other day,” rather than buy in bulk once a week, and would be easily accessible by bike, train, bus, or on foot. “It would be like it was growing up, when people went to the store every other day. [The Roche Bros.] realize with pedestrians in Davis that it’s a good location for something like this,” he said.
Connolly said “conceivably,” once community meetings and public hearings are held, and the developers secure the proper permits, construction could begin as early as December. He said anywhere from nine months to a year later, the store could be open.
The biggest concerns Connolly has heard so far about the potential for a marketplace coming to Davis Square have been whether or not grocery-store deliveries would affect traffic along the small stretch of roadway, and how the store could impact Dave’s Fresh Pasta and McKinnon’s Meat Market, which are both located nearby.
The Roche Bros. opened up a Brothers Marketplace in Medfield earlier this year, which was met by fanfare. They also have a location in Weston that opened in May. Connolly called the Medfield location “gorgeous,” and touted its neighborhood feel.
Somerville Mayor Joe Curtatone said he was excited about the possibility of having a grocery store in the area.
“This…would expand access to fresh, wholesome foods in a new marketplace that is easily accessible by walking, biking, or public transportation, and complement the great stores already within Davis Square,” said Curtatone. “I’m glad Roche Bros. sees Somerville as the ideal location for this new Brothers Marketplace concept.”