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Developer Closing In On Centerpiece Of Boston’s Failed Olympic Bid

Redeveloping the 18.5-acre New Boston Food Market in Widett Circle won't require an air rights deck, but it will need infrastructure changes to improve access to the property.

The city of Boston had grand plans for the area known as Widett Circle in 2015. It has been in planning limbo since then, but a bidder has emerged to kick off its long-awaited redevelopment.

The industrial area — just off Interstate 93, nestled between downtown, the South End and South Boston — was at the center of Boston’s bid to host the 2024 Olympic Games. That bid fell apart, but it appears Boston’s athletic defeat will be developer William Keravuori’s gain. 

Keravuori is leading a group of investors in the charge to buy and develop Widett Circle, the Boston Globe reports. The group is reportedly set to close Friday on a portfolio consisting of two deals worth up to a combined $175M spanning 25 acres. 

New Boston Food Market is the main seller in the deal. Keravuori is expected to buy the food wholesaler cooperative’s 18.5-acre parcel for $125M. Market analysts in spring 2019 estimated it could go for more than $200M, but the coronavirus pandemic has thrown commercial real estate valuations into an unprecedented unknown. Approximately 5 more acres in the deal will come from Americold, which specializes in storing perishable goods. That sale is pegged somewhere in the neighborhood of $50M. 

For nearly as long as the eventual owner of Widett Circle has been debated, how it will be developed has been a hot topic. It only got hotter as life sciences space demand rose in recent years. Keravuori’s plans remain to be seen, with the Globe reporting he continues to research options, and their scope could depend on the potential addition of neighboring properties, including those owned by the city and the commonwealth. 

Keravuori’s investors reportedly include a California employee pension fund and Suffolk Capital.