(Joseph Leahy photo for boston.com)
Whole Foods may not be the only new supermarket coming to Hyde Square.
The Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation says it has received proposals from several markets to move into a commercial property beside the Blessed Sacrament Church on Centre Street – roughly three blocks from where Whole Foods is renovating the former Hi-Lo Foods Latin market.
“Four or five markets have expressed interest in using the space,” said the corporation's executive director, Richard Thal. Although Thal declined to name the companies interested, he said the ground floor commercial space sitting below 36 mostly occupied residential units could become home to a Latin specialty foods market.
Thal said he would be able to say more in the next few weeks.
But one person close to the negotiations said a grocer called Compare is attempting to move in as soon as possible.
There are two grocers under that name. One is a Massachusetts-based entity, Compare Supermarkets, that owns two Boston area stores.
Alberto Calvo, one of Compare Supermarket's four owners, said his company has been looking at the possibility of opening a Jamaica Plain location, especially in light of Hi-Lo's closure, but declined to comment further on the matter.
He said Compare Supermarkets adapt to the communities each store is located in. For instance, the company's Chelsea store, which opened in 1996, stocks groceries unique to its high concentration of Central American and Puerto Rican shoppers, while the Lynn store, which opened in 2005, caters to a Dominican Republic customer base, he said.
There is also a Northeast supermarket chain, Compare Foods, based in New York that specializes in Latin American products and has stores from New England to South Carolina. Officials from that company declined to comment.
The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the negotiations were ongoing, said a company named Compare, recognizing the void left by the closing of Hi-Lo, already has made a proposal to the development corporation.
Rumors of a possible new competitor on Centre Street between the Stop & Shop near Jackson Square and Hi-Lo Food’s replacement, Whole Foods, sprang up Tuesday at a neighborhood council committee meeting. During the evening gathering, held to choose 10 new members of the ad hoc Whole Foods committee, JP business owner Raymond Santos raised the issue.
“Some of you may or may not know this but there is going to be another grocery store in that area. Soon,” he said. “It’s going to happen a lot faster than you think.”
The anticipated arrival of Whole Foods, the nation’s largest organic foods purveyor, has stirred resistance among some JP residents who view the change an affront to Hyde Square’s ethnic and economic diversity. It is unclear whether another new market will be met with similar opposition.
“It’s also not a done deal, this so-called other market,” Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council member David Baron said at the committee meeting Tuesday.
Thal stressed that gaining the necessary permits for any supermarket to lease the property across from the restaurant, Captain Nemo’s, on Creighton Street would be a long process.
“It’s never over 'til it’s over,” he said.
Correction: An earlier version of this story did not distinguish that there are two grocers named Compare. One is Compare Supermarkets, based in Mass. The other is Compare Foods, based in New York.
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly named the neighborhood development group. It is the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation (JPNDC), which is not to be confused with a entirely separate neighborhood council entity also mentioned in this story, the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council (JPNC).
This article was reported and written by Emerson College journalism student Joseph Leahy, as part of a collaboration between The Boston Globe and Emerson.