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The Market Basket near the intersection of Route 114 and Donald Street will open in April, according to company officials. The store will be the largest supermarket in Bedford. (Harry Kozlowski Photo)

Market Basket may open in April

Residents in the northern end of Bedford will have a new place to buy groceries soon as Market Basket prepares to open its new store.

The store, located near the intersection of Route 114 and Donald Road, is a 78,500- square-foot supermarket that will be one of the largest in the area.

Jim Lamp, a spokesman for Market Basket, said the store should be open sometime in April if weather allows.

Some final paving, road widening and building of retaining walls remain to be done.The ground needs to thaw in order to complete the work, otherwise the store’s interior in almost complete.

“The shelving’s up, the store’s moving fine, and when the weather gets a little warmer we’ll wrap up the exterior,” said Lamp.

The new store will have several features to enhance the food shopping experience, Lamp said. For example, there will be a Market Kitchen and Cafe with its own separate dining area. The store will also have a Market Butcher Shop offering high quality, custom cuts of meat and poultry.

The size of this new store became an issue in a lawsuit filed by grocery competitor Hannaford Brothers, which operates several stores in the area, including a 40,000-square-foot facility on Route 101 West, about 4 miles away from the Market Basket site.

In its suit, Hannaford argues that the Bedford Zoning Board improperly granted a variance that allowed Market Basket to build a larger store when the same board prevented Hannaford from doing the same thing at its Route 101 site.

The case was heard by the state Supreme Court and a decision is expected within weeks.

In defending against the suit, Bedford argued the land on which Hannaford built its store was in fact the limiting factor in the size of the store. It also argued that since Hannaford’s store is located 3.8 miles from the Market Basket location, it is not an abutter and therefore has no legal standing to challenge the zoning decision.

Lamp said the pending court decision has not slowed progress toward opening the new store. The decision before the state Supreme Court is only about whether Hanneford has legal standing to challenge the town’s granting of the variance.

Since then, Bedford amended its zoning – by vote of Town Meeting – to allow a store the size of the new Market Basket, a decision Hannaford is also challenging.

But in the event the courts eventually rule against the the town, Bedford Planning Director Rick Sawyer said a bond is in place that would cover the cost of returning the store site to its original condition.

Lamp said Market Basket is confident the new store will remain. “We think the town acted properly in issuing the variances and in the rezoning of the property,” he said.

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