LYNN — Market Basket, the city’s newest supermarket, will officially open on Saturday.
A grand opening will be at 8 a.m. at the new 84,000 square foot store, which is located at Western Avenue and Federal Street on the former General Electric Factory of the Future site. The store opens to customers at 7 a.m.
The grand opening ceremony will feature speeches from city and state officials, along with Market Basket/DeMoulas Super Markets Inc. President and CEO Arthur T. DeMoulas, which will be followed by a ribbon cutting, according to David McLean, operations manager of DeMoulas Super Markets Inc.
Construction began on the $30 million project, which was funded by Market Basket, in the spring of 2016. The company also funded a $2 million infrastructure improvement, aimed at improving access around the new Market Basket.
Some of the infrastructure improvements include putting a roundabout at Magrane Square and new traffic signals at the intersection of Spencer Street.
James Cowdell, executive director of the city’s Economic Development and Industrial Corp., said part of the project has also included an additional $1 million for landscaping to make the area beautiful. No city or state funds were used for the project, he said, which was entirely funded by Market Basket.
The improvements are intended to support the city’s Market Square revitalization, which includes the redevelopment of the 22-acre former GE site.
Cowdell said the land had previously been vacant for about 30 years — GE owned it and sold it to Charles Patsios, a Swampscott developer, in 2013 for $4 million. Market Basket was then brought in.
“This is really big news and we’re very, very excited,” Cowdell said. “On a daily basis, 20,000 cars pass what had been a vacant lot, so this will provide 400 jobs and take a vacant lot, which had been an eyesore, and create a beautiful store with major infrastructure improvements as well.”
McLean said the store has 460 employees, with 20 percent of those as full-time jobs. He said more than 80 percent of the people hired are Lynn residents.
McLean said the store features all of the bells and whistles of its most modern stores. The Lynn store is the company’s 78th. It’s another milestone for DeMoulas Super Markets, he said, as the company is celebrating its 100th anniversary — in 1917, a small store was opened in Lowell.
Some of the store’s features, McLean said, will be Market’s Kitchen, with a cafe seating area that includes wifi. The market’s kitchen, which offers fresh meals for people to either eat in the cafe or take to go, has been a feature of their past 30 or so stores, he added.
McLean said the store has 50,000 items for people to choose from, including about 5,000 items that are gluten-free or organic.
What’s important, McLean said, is low prices. He said the company’s slogan is “more for your dollar,” which is critical to families who are looking to stretch their dollar.
McLean said the attraction to open a Market Basket in Lynn came from the company listening to their customers. He said customers from Lynn would leave the city to go to another Market Basket in Revere, Chelsea or Salem, and asked if a store would ever be built in their municipality. He said the challenge was finding the space, and having adequate parking.
“Fortunately this space came to fruition and we were able to join the city and make it happen,” McLean said.