Supermarket chain Stop & Shop has poured about $400,000 into renovations of the old Johnnie's Foodmaster location on Salem Street in less than two months, and it plans to hold a grand opening for its new store Friday, according to officials.
The store will employ approximately 100, including about 30 former Johnnie's employees who have been out of a job since the store at 471 Salem St. closed in November, according to an announcement from Stop & Shop.
The grand opening will take place at 10 a.m. Friday. The store will be open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday.
The renovation work included installing new coolers; refrigerators and shelving; plumbing repairs; and interior aesthetics of the 30,000 square foot store, Medford Building Commissioner Paul Mochi said Monday. Mochi said about $400,000 had been spent on repairs and renovations at the property that were inspected by the city. Stop & Shop does not disclose the amount it spends on such projects, spokesperson Suzi Robinson said.
It's the only one of the six former Foodmaster locations that Stop & Shop has taken over. Upscale grocer Whole Foods announced plans to buy leases on six of the 10 former Foodmaster locations -- Melrose, Charlestown, Beacon Street in Somerville, Brookline, Arlington, and South Weymouth -- in October, but has not opened any of its new stores.
Tom Champion, spokesman for Somerville, said the city’s Inspectional Services Department confirmed that Whole Foods has requested and received a construction permit to gut the Beacon Street location in preparation of converting the building to its needs. Whole Foods also has requested plan review packets from the city’s Health Department.
Champion said no opening date has been set for the Beacon Street store, and there was no news on the status of the former Foodmaster at the Route 16 site.
Whole Foods aims to open all six locations by September 2013, according to the company's annual financial report, issued in November. Other sites, including the former Foodmaster at the intersection of Broadway and Route 16 in Somerville, have remained empty.
Within days of a liquidator announcing Foodmaster planned to close the four locations that Whole Foods did not chose to lease, Stop & Shop announced plans to buy the remainder of the lease at 471 Salem St., which expires in 2023. Since then, its worked nearly as quickly to get its new store opened.
The store passed final inspections by the city's health, fire, and building departments in the first week of January, Mochi said. The renovations did not require a traffic study or need to receive site plan approval from the city because the property is remaining a grocery store and did not need any special permits, Mochi said.
"It was a pretty straight-forward, so they really were able to move along pretty quickly," he said.
Located in a plaza with six other stores, the site has been the location of a grocery store since at least 1961, which is as far back as city building records on the property go, Mochi said. Even though another Stop & Shop is located only about 1 mile away on Route 28, it's critical for the surrounding neighborhood that it remains a grocery store, City Councilor Paul Camuso said.
"People just love to be able to walk to their grocery store," he said. "Especially there, because there's quite a large senior population."
The city values the 251,000 square-foot property at 469 and 471 Salem St. -- which includes all stores in the plaza and the parking lot -- at $6.5 million, according to Ed O'Neil, city assessor. The renovations made by Stop & Shop won't be accounted for in the property value until 2014, he said.
The new store will feature a full seafood department, hot soup bar, and deli counter, where orders can be placed in advance, a spokesperson for Stop & Shop said.