Heavy-duty shovels wielded by heavy-duty Star Market and Shaws executives and their guests hit dirt Wednesday afternoon at the groundbreaking ceremony for the new Star Market on Route 9 in Chestnut Hill.
Eco-friendliness was the watchword at the swanky launch party next to Hammond Pond, a parking lot away from the crumbling demolition site of the old Star Market.
The new store will boast the latest in environmentally-conscious technologies, including a natural gas fuel cell, energy-saving light-emitting diodes that last about 10 years, and advanced heating and refrigeration systems. If the technologies work, Supervalu, the parent company of Shaw's and Star Market, could adopt them in other stores, as well.
Even Mayor Cohen of Newton was in a green mood for the event. He posed a rhetorical question to the crowd on the advantages of LED lighting, and then answered it himself: "I have no idea, but they're good."
Those involved in the project spoke enthusiastically of what they described as an innovative plan.
"This is unique for a supermarket design," glowed Walter Yarosh, a lead architect for the project.
Yarosh cited an open layout, ease of accessibility, an outdoor marketplace aesthetic, and the use of natural light as elements that will improve the consumer experience at the future supermarket, which is also slated to feature increased parking and a particularly wide selection of prepared and ready-to-cook foods.
"We think that people will come back and say [the wait] was very much worth it," predicted Bill Nasshan, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Merchandise for Star Market and Shaws.
However, Newton and Brookline residents inconvenienced by the closing will not know whether or not the wait was worthwhile until at least the summer of 2009. That's when the store is set to open.
-- Sol Israel