Healthy Living CEO Eli Lesser-Goldsmith
The town of Shelburne and Healthy Living Market & Café
could form a public-private partnership to determine if a parcel of land on U.S. 7 is suitable for development. If given initial approval by Shelburne voters on Town Meeting Day in March, the proposed project would mean the development of a Healthy Living grocery store and a new fire and rescue department on adjacent sites at U.S. Rte. 7 and Longmeadow Drive.
The first ballot initiative will ask Shelburne voters to approve a $50,000 expenditure — $25,000 from the ambulance fund and $25,000 from taxes — that would be used for “soft development," including permitting fees and site suitability studies, according to Jerry Storey, chair of the Shelburne Selectboard.
Healthy Living would spend the same amount on so-called soft development, said CEO Eli Lesser-Goldsmith, as a first phase of the development.
“It’s a great location,” Lesser-Goldsmith said. “We want to be part of the community of Shelburne, Charlotte and neighboring Hinesburg and South Burlington. Shelburne Fire and Rescue is a gold-star neighbor, and we’d be super-excited to help them make their new fire-station dreams [become] a reality.”
Healthy Living has purchased an option to buy 6.5 acres for the dual development project, Lesser-Goldsmith said. Should the project move forward, Healthy Living would build an 18,000-square-foot grocery store and café on about half the land, he said.
In an independent transaction, the town would purchase the remainder of the lot and develop a fire and rescue station on it, according to Storey. For this phase of the project, the town will ask voters on Town Meeting Day 2020 to approve $650,000 to buy the land and $50,000 for development, he said.
“It’s a public-private partnership in an interesting way,” Storey said. “And it’s a great vote in our joint confidence in the region. It might be instructive down the road for how other kinds of development can occur.”
The Shelburne location would be the third store for Healthy Living, a business founded in 1986 by Katy Lesser, Lesser-Goldsmith's mother. The original location was a small shop in South Burlington's Blue Mall. Now, Healthy Living is a 30,000-square-foot store, with café and education kitchen, just down Dorset Street, and also has a branch in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
Lesser-Goldsmith said he intends to begin construction on the Shelburne store in 2020.
“We’re really hoping that the town of Shelburne buys the rear property and co-develops the entire piece with us,” he said. “People have been asking for our store there for years and we’re going to try to deliver it.”