PHOTO BY PAULA MULLER
Building owner Charlie Patsios and Mayor Judith Kennedy watch as the demolition of the Old GE building on Federal Street in Lynn begins.
BY THOR JOURGENSEN
LYNN — An excavator started demolishing the long-empty General Electric Factory of the Future building on Federal Street Monday to make way for a supermarket.
Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy smiled and clapped as the big machine took its first bite out of the building’s loading dock before proceeding to rip down part of a wall.
“This building has been vacant for so long,” Kennedy said. “It’s coming down for something new.”
Market Basket is scheduled to open a store at Federal Street and Western Avenue next spring, she added. New Hampshire-based Kidder Building & Wrecking Inc. crews will strip the 84,000-square-foot building to its foundation and steel frame.
“This is the day we begin to bring 400 jobs to this site,” said James M. Cowdell, executive director of the city’s Economic Development and Industrial Corporation.
The partial demolition will take 10 days — weather permitting — and sets the stage for a construction of the store to build the store and add 20,000 additional square footage.
“GE built a very solid foundation and we are adding to it,” said Charles Patsios, the site’s owner and Swampscott developer.
Shuttered since 1988, the once state-of-the-art factory sat empty until the mayor met with high-level GE executives to discuss steering the site toward redevelopment. Patsios bought the 16-acre property from GE in 2013 for $4 million. Market Basket CEO Arthur T. DeMoulas joined city and state officials last year to announce $2.5 million in state money for road improvements around the site.
The work will start this summer with contractors creating turning lanes on Spencer Street. Additional road repair working and street lighting installation will be done on streets surrounding the site, including Marion and Waterhill streets.
Kennedy said the new Market Basket will attract Lynn shoppers and customers from Nahant, Saugus and other communities.
Lou St. Onge, Kidder’s project manager, praised City Hall for working with the demolition firm to prepare the site for excavation.
“You’re very good,” he said.
Thor Jourgensen can be reached at [email protected].