News

Grocery store anchors Taft Corners redevelopment plan

The red marker indicates the area adjacent to the existing Hannaford grocery store
where Taft Corners Associates proposes to build a new 20,000-square-foot grocery store.

BY JASON STARR 

Observer staff 

Taft Corners Associates is proposing to build a 20,000-square-foot grocery store behind an existing Hannaford grocery store as part of a 7-acre commercial and residential development that is on the Development Review Board’s Oct. 12 agenda. 

As part of the proposal, the Masonic Lodge on Merchant’s Row would be torn down along with two neighboring buildings that currently house Falcon Plumbing & Heating and Waggles Dog Training school. In their place, “multi-story mixed-use buildings and an urban park are envisioned,” according to application documents filed with the Williston Planning and Zoning Department. 

The plan includes the extension of Wright Avenue and Trader Lane to create an urban block in the vacant area behind Hannaford. The project’s application documents float the idea of a hotel being constructed on the block and describe a hub of “diverse retail, office and residential uses to be intermingled with the existing retail development.” 

Jeff Nick, one of the principals of Taft Corners Associates, could not be reached for comment. 

The project would bring to life one of the key elements of a new vision for Taft Corners that town planners, with the help of a consultant and public input, have created this year. The new vision will underpin revised zoning regulations for the Taft Corners Zoning District that town planners will seek selectboard approval for in the coming year. 

Taft Corners Associates anticipates their project will be built under the new regulations. 

“It’s exciting that there is interest on the private side in what is articulated in the vision,” Planning and Zoning Director Matt Boulanger said. 

A group of Williston senior citizens who meet regularly at the Masonic Lodge is concerned about the loss of the building. Joan Stoddard asked the selectboard at its Aug. 17 meeting to help the group find another meeting space. 

“We’d like to know what the town is going to do to support the Williston seniors,” she said. “We are going to need a meeting room and a small kitchen.” 

Burlington-area Masons have met at the lodge for roughly 30 years, since moving from a downtown Burlington location. 

“It’s been a great location for us because it’s so easy to get to,” said Williston Mason Larry Currier. 

He is unsure where the group’s meetings will be held once the building is razed. 

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