By adamg on Tue, 07/12/2011 - 9:36pm
The Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council voted tonight to try to begin negotiations with Whole Foods on a "community benefits agreement" that would set specific financial and neighborhood goals for the chain to meet as it opens its store in Hyde Square.
The council said it will use as its basis for bargaining a 68-page report that sets out a range of requests for Whole Foods, from hiring to types of foods it should carry to funding a program to subsidize purchases at other markets in the neighborhood.
Council members did not say whether they would attempt to include all the report's recommendations in the agreement or a subset. However, they also voted to meet with neighborhood groups, such as the Hyde Square Task Force and both pro- and anti-Whole Foods groups for possible recommendations. The group hopes to meet with somebody from Whole Foods in August, when the chain's regional president is back from vacation.
Council member Michael Reiskind says it's unlikely the council can get as many conditions - or as much money - as it did from Stop & Shop when it moved to Jackson Square, in large part because Whole Foods is signing a lease with a private landlord for an existing building, rather than taking over a city-owned parcel.