Could the Boston food market be replaced by Olympic rings?

Currently, the site is unimpressive. Low industrial buildings, with trucks and trailers parked all around. It seems unlikely to be viewed as a “prime location,” until you step back and recognize the New Boston Food Market occupies an extremely valuable piece of Boston real estate.

And while most land owners are happy to know that their property has appreciated, some may not appreciate that that value also makes them a target. In this case, some of those who work at the Market are concerned that their real estate could be taken as part of the bid to bring the Olympics to Boston in 2024.

While 2024 may seem like a long way off in the future, the organizing group is working to assemble a bid and that bid is likely to fuel speculation as the to precise location of the facilities that would be necessary to put on the games.

Redevelopment can be a great deal for areas of a city like Boston, but for all the winners, there are also losers. Businesses displaced from a well-established location can suffer all manner of transaction costs associated with their moving and rebuilding their facilities.

The Market employees 700 and handles much of Boston’s fresh meat and fish used by area restaurants. It has revenue of almost $1 billion this year, is owned by a cooperative of 18 shareholders, and a sale would require unanimous approval, which is unlikely. However, the city of Boston could intervene and take the property by the eminent domain process.

Even if the Olympic bid is unsuccessful, the location of the Market makes it highly desirable and there is potential for other development in the area, which could also lead to pressure to redevelop the site.

The issues that arise surrounding eminent domain can become rapidly complex and working with a commercial real estate attorney familiar with the process very early is advisable, as they can help you obtain the highest value for your property and protect your rights throughout this arcane process.

The Boston Globe, “Wholesalers fear finishing last in an Olympics,” Callum Borchers, December 2, 2014