EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

April 3, 2013

HomeGoods, Aldi eye move to Plaistow

By Alex Lippa
alippa@eagletribune.com

---- — PLAISTOW — Business owners and town officials are hopeful the old Shaw’s plaza will soon have two new tenants.

The Route 125 property, very close to the state line, has been empty for six years since Shaw’s moved across the street. But two businesses could fill the vacancy.

HomeGoods and Aldi’s Supermarket are both interested in filling the 48,000-square-foot space, according to town planner Leigh Komornick. The building would be divided into two spaces if both businesses opt in.

“They haven’t applied for occupancy yet,” Komornick said. “They are still working out the plans.”

Town Manager Sean Fitzgerald said he was hoping to see it filled in the coming months.

“We are more optimistic than we’ve been in a while,” Fitzgerald said. “We have had discussions with the property owner. They have a couple strong leads and it’s my hope that some things will materialize in the very near future.”

The property is owned by Taurus Investment Holdings of Boston. Taurus representatives did not respond to phone calls yesterday.

Shaw’s moved from Plaistow Center Plaza to Stateline Plaza in 2007. Since then, multiple Plaistow Center Plaza tenants, including Northeast Rehabilitation Hospital Network, have left.

“It’s been difficult keeping people there,” Planning Board Chairman Steve Ranlett said. “Anything that would move in here would help everyone out, especially all the other clients.”

Phil Tracy, a spokesman for HomeGoods, said the company likes to keep its plans under wraps until a month before a grand opening.

But, he did say, the company is actively looking to expand throughout New England.

“We have several stores already in the New England region and are always looking for new wonderful locations,” Tracy said.

HomeGoods already has stores in Salem and Londonderry. The store is owned by TJX, which also owns T.J. Maxx and Marshall’s.

For Aldi’s, the location would be its second in New Hampshire. The German-based chain opened in Salem last year. The store prides itself on discounted prices and fresh produce.

Representatives for Aldi could not be reached for comment.

Existing business owners are eager for some new tenants.

“It would be absolutely good news,” said Jim Palmer, owner of Live Free or Diner. “I’ve been hoping that space has been filled for a while now.”

Ron Boivin, owner of Ron’s Kitchen Design, said he thinks his business would complement HomeGoods well.

“They sell good stuff at cheaper prices,” Boivin said. “What it would do is bring in the real savvy and educated shopper. Those are the type of people we want here.”

The plaza is already getting a new addition. Walgreens is expected to open near the entrance of the plaza this summer.

“With Walgreens coming up around the corner,” Fitzgerald said, “we’re experiencing new growth and we are hopeful that we will see more of those investments as the economy continues to rebound.”