The Mid-Cambridge Conservation District Commission last night approved a plan for a new market on Broadway at the site of the old Broadway Market.
The market portion of the old Broadway Market closed in 1991 after serving the area--about a five minute walk northeast of Harvard Square--for 58 years.
"The sign still says `Broadway Market,'" said John R. Pitkin, president of the Mid-Cambridge Neighborhood Association, "but now it just has convenience items and is a liquor store.
"The only thing that's missing is the gas pump in front," Pitkin said.
Pitkin said he came up with the proposal after the closing of the original market.
"It was a real blow to many residents of thearea," he said.
"It was a focus for many activities in theneighborhood such as politicking, voterregistration, and notice of communityevents...that's all gone," he said.
Noting that there are "a fair amount of elderlypeople" in the neighborhood, he added that "somepeople have to go quite far" to buy food.
"A year or more after I came up with theproposal, Charles McLaughlin saw it and liked itso much he decided to make it a reality," Pitkinsaid.
McLaughlin, both the attorney for and anofficer of the project's development company,North Square Associates, said the project willconsist of between six and seven differentcompanies.
He said the primary tenants will be theexisting owner of Broadway Liquors, a companycalled Ring Brothers specializing in produce and ameat and deli operator named New England MeatMarket.
McLaughlin said the new market would not be aconventional supermarket.
"Unlike a more generalized single owner store,we're bringing in the best possible localoperators in each departmental category," he said.
North Square Associates President RudolphMaffeo said the planned marketplace is a "newconcept in foods. A new concept in groceries andproduce."
"The neighborhood association has vigorouslysupported this project," said Pitkin.
"There really isn't any place in Harvard Squareto buy food," he added.
"If you work in Holyoke Center, I [could] seeyou picking up some seafood during lunch hour,"Pitkin said
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