Star Market in Winter Hill closed in 2007, and since then the space has been empty. Now, the Somerville Board of Aldermen want an update on the site.
As background, Ocean State Job Lot, a chain of discount stores, signed a lease with the property owner, Jim Cohen, in 2009, according to press reports, but in 2010 the Somerville Planning Board refused to grant a special permit to Ocean State Job Lot.
The site, at 299 Broadway, has been emtpy for nearly five years now, and the Somerville Board of Aldermen have asked for information about its status.
"It's a topic of conversation throughout the city," said Alderman At-Large Dennis Sullivan at the March 22 Board meeting.
At-Large Alderman William White, a lawyer, provided a brief summary of the status of the site at that meeting. "Ocean [State] Job Lot didn't meet the requirements in the eyes of the Planning Board, so they denied it. The owner has appealed it now; it's before, I believe, it's in the land court."
"What the owner is claiming is a couple of things," White said. "One is that the Planning Board made the wrong decision because they qualified for the zoning. And they're also claiming that political pressure was applied and therefore … the Planning Board did not make, basically, a correct decision."
White said the matter is "ongoing."
He also said, "Evidently they've decided to go forward with this [litigation] and they're not entertaining anybody else coming in as a tenant."