Sold in Belmont: Hall of Famer Accounts for Biggest Sale for a Year

Photo: Drone shot! 107 Marsh St. from 100 feet. 

A recap of residential properties sold in the past seven-plus days in the “Town of Homes”:

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64 Summit Rd. #1, Condo townhouse (2005). Sold: $1,425,000.

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107 Marsh St., Mansion (2015). Sold: $3,250,000.

64 Summit Rd. #1, Condo townhouse (2005). Sold: $1,425,000. Listed at $1,495,000. Living area: 3,453 sq.-ft. 10 rooms, 4 bedrooms, 5 baths. On the market: 156 days.

107 Marsh St., Mansion (2015). Sold: $3,250,000. Listed at $3,650,000. Living area: 7,500 sq.-ft. 10 rooms, 5 bedrooms, 6 baths. On the market: 125 days.

As the average house sold in Belmont in the first month of 2016 has reached $999,999 (!), this past week saw the priciest homes in their category; a townhouse in the Woodlands across the road from Lone Tree Hill Conservation land that came in at a tad under one-and-a-half million dollars (it was sold new in 2005 for $1.3 so it was a wash for the original owners who have decamped to Florida) and that new Marsh Street mansion. 

Where once stood a single-story, 2,500 sq.-ft. ranch now stands a gargantuan Colonial-inspired mansion on 2/3 acre of land. I can only guess the seller includes roller skates to the buyers so they can get around the place! Let’s say the “Tiny House” trend has not come to Belmont Hill. And you know its prominence in the home sales hierarchy as the promotional package includes a photo from a drone. 

And I’ll let the broker describe the manse on Marsh:

This brand new grand estate is a stunning departure from the ordinary! Follow the winding streets and mature trees of Belmont Hill to a circular drive that paves the way to this authentic colonial. A gracious fireplace living room and formal dining room enhanced by spectacular millwork. The library/office has built in book shelves. The real joy of owning this home is the dramatic great room [Great Room?] and kitchen that open and extend onto a deck. Entertain in style in the great room with massive stone fireplace, bookcases and windows overlooking a scenic setting. Step out and off the deck to a patio with built[-]in outdoor grill. The 2nd [second] floor has a sun drenched family room with soaring ceilings. The master suite provides a soothing oasis of special conveniences including gas fireplace & [and] two walk-in closets. The master bath has double vanities and acoustic tub. The architecture detail found in older homes is epitomized in this upscale new home design in a stately neighborhood. CHALLENGES COMPARISON!

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In brief, it’s big and faces south. It’s so “stunning” it no longer has a living room but a “dramatic great room,” – right out of the pages of Hilary Mantel’s “Wolf Hall”! (Well, maybe not THAT grand but it does have offsetting entry columns.) The master suite’s bathroom required a five-fixture connection, likely for the separate milk and wine faucets. All said, it’s actually aesthetically pleasing as it pushes out to the back although it does have dormers that looked thrown onto the roofline. 

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The Great Hall with heating grate.

And while royalty or Thomas Cromwell (probably) weren’t the buyers, it took one princely sum to be its owner: three and a quarter million dollars. That closing cost makes it the most expensive house sold in the “Town of Homes” for some time, slightly more than the house on Wellesley Road that sold for $3,092,500 in December or the Polaris House on Somerset that could only muster $2.3 million. 

And there is an interesting back story to 107 Marsh. In 2002, the property was sold for $851,500 to a professor at a local business school who would soon be inducted into the Northeast Region of the American Accounting Association Hall of Fame. (The AAA – which is celebrating its centennial –  is here to “promote worldwide excellence in accounting education, research and practice.”) If you do internal auditing, you’ve read this gentleman’s books. 

According to records, the professors trust sold the property in June 2014 for $1.3 million to Keystone Luxury Estates LLC in Watertown. Soon after, the old ranch was blown up and the firm put down $685,000 to a well-known contractor to build the new grand house on the Marsh.

Looking a bit into Keystone, the only known asset of the company was the property and land at 107 Marsh. And who happens to be the manager and agent of the LLC that registered with the state two weeks before the sale? The professor who sold the house. So he sold the house to himself, used the proceeds – at incredibly low interest rate – to pay the contractor/architect and then dispose it for a cool million dollar profit.

And THAT’S why he’s in the Accounting Hall of Fame. 

Sports: Belmont Boy’s Hoops Tops League Table Defeating Ranked Arlington,

Photo: Justin Wagner scoring vs. Arlington.

A dominating third quarter by its three big men under the basket powered Belmont High School to the top of the Middlesex League Liberty Division after the Marauders defeated Arlington High School, 75-65, before a ruckus home crowd at the Wenner on Friday, Jan. 30.

Co-captain senior forward Justin Wagner scored 9 of his 14 points in the third as he and fellow forward Joe Shaughnessy (10 points with 6 in the final quarter) dictated play on both ends of the court, allowing Belmont to spring one-too-many fast breaks for the SpyPonders – ranked 9th in the latest Boston Globe basketball poll – to allow and stay with the Marauders as Belmont outscored the SpyPonders, 20-13, to extend its halftime margin from eight to 15 at the start of the final eight minutes.

The victory, revenge for the loss in December at Arlington (12-3) where Belmont (13-2) gave up a late lead for its first loss of the season, puts Belmont a game up in the race for the league championship. 

“We kind of flipped the last game around in defense, rebounding and pounding them on the glass,” said Adam Pritchard, Belmont’s long-time head coach. 

Lead by league all-star point guard Matt Kerans who finished with 20 points (including two threes, double-digit in assists and 8-8 from the line), Belmont stayed with the quick SpyPonders which used its quickness and opportunistic defense through the first quarter (15-14 Arlington lead) before a bucket by sophomore Tomas Dononyan (2 points) followed in quick succession by a pair of threes from junior guard Daron Hamparian (8 points) gave the Marauders a 24-17 lead with 5:30 to go in the half. 

Belmont’s dominance under the basket was evident when on several occasions when the Marauders had multiple looks at the basket by grabbing the offensive bound, in one sequence, taking four than six shots at the hoop before making the bucket. 

“There’s not doubt that our forwards are a big part of our game because it opens the court for Kerans and our guards,” said Pritchard. 

The Marauders went into the break with a 38-30 lead followed a surging junior forward Paul Ramsey who scored 7 of his 16 points in the second, two nights from a 23 point performance against Watertown in a 69-60 victory. 

Arlington could not muster a sustained challenge against the Marauders as Belmont matched every SpyPonder point run with one of its own. Arlington junior captain Colin McNamara scored nine of his team-high 20 in the fourth. 

There remain parts of the team’s game that could use improving moving forward, said Pritchard. 

“We have a big line-up but we have to handle full-court pressure and certainly must work on our rebounding and to be honest, we have to get healthy,” he said.


Sports: Young, Learning, Determined; Belmont Wrestling Laying a Solid Foundation

.Photo: Belmont High Head Wrestling Coach Ivan Lozano (right) and assistant Matt Curaj                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

“Shoot!” yelled Belmont High Head Wrestling Coach Ivan Lozano to the Belmont wrestler struggling to get an advantage over his Watertown competitor in the small gym at the Wenner Field House at Belmont High last week.

Lozano was directing his young freshman wrestler to dive toward the opponent’s legs, grab them and then dictate the action. 

But whether it was inexperience, fatigue or just a lack of confidence, Lozano’s wrestler couldn’t commit to the bread-and-butter move. Soon after, the Watertown wrestler got on top of the Marauder and … “bang!” the referee slammed his hand to the mat indicating a pin against the Belmont grappler.

After the match, Lozano, and his assistant Matt Curran spent a moment with their defeated charge to review what he did well and leave him with some encouraging words on improving after another tough loss in a season that can best be called a learning experience.

While there is no getting over that his wrestlers still have some way to go “you always have to be positive because when he hears negative things on the mat, he’s going to be thinking negative,” said Lozano.

There has been an enormous number of times the opponents arm was raised in victory this season. So be it, said Lozano, because his and Curran’s vision for the team is one with a single long-range goal: rebuild the sport that had fallen on hard times since he was a wrestler at Belmont High only five years ago.

Lozano wrestled with good competitors on a Belmont High team that included a state champion, Sami Baghdady.

And today, Belmont wrestling is his squad to guide.

“I love this team,” said Lozano who graduated from Belmont in 2011 and from UMass Boston in 2015. “It really is a blessing that so many freshmen who came out and committed themselves to the sport,” he said.

While nearly the entire team had no exposure to high school/collegiate-style wrestling that relies on strength and guile to pin an opponent, “they are coming here with the right mindset, ready to work,” said Curren graduated in 2014 from New Hampshire and 2010 from Arlington High.

“It’s better to have a new group of freshmen because they are coming to learn the basics. We’ve got them for four years,” said Curren. “As long as they are working hard, having fun and learning the sport, that’s all that matters now.”

There have been some encouraging results from recent meets. At the annual Brendan Grant tournament held at the Wenner in January, Belmont secured a pair of podium places as freshmen Bryson Lipson and Omer Rona finished fifth and sixth respectfully in their weight classes. 

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Lipson, who came away with a bit of a bent nose at the end of the night, won two matches  before falling to the eventual champion at 152 pounds.

“I had one great match that went into overtime, sudden death. It was a good feeling to win that way although it did tire me out,” said Lipson.

Rona used a quite unique strategy in his victory, allowing his first-round opponent from Wakefield in the 195-pound category to “let him throw me around” until the final 30 seconds before turning the tables on him.

“He was guaranteed to win because he was up by ten points. But he was so tired trying to pin me that I got around him. He tried to get up but because he had no energy left I went for an arm bar (a favorite of UFC star Rhonda Rousey) and got the pin,” said Rona.

[When told of Omer’s “technique,” Belmont Selectman Chair Sami Baghdady – who was an outstanding high school wrestler and whose namesake was a state champion as a freshman for Belmont – advised Rona to “find a less unorthodox approach if he wants to survive long in the sport.”]

It is Lipson, Rona and the dozen or so wrestlers who just want to participate and improve gives the Belmont Wrestling brain trust confidence in what they are doing. 

“It’s a very young team which means they have to come her every day to practice which they have been doing. It’s about fine tuning their technique for the next two to three years and then you will see our freshmen now be on top,” said Lozano, who relies on his small senior class to keep the “kids” motivated” through the growing pains of an inexperienced but determined team. 

While the season is close to ending, Lozano and Curren will ask half a dozen wrestlers to commit to off-season training with them and area coaches.

“That will keep the sport going, as we improve, so will the number of kids who will come out for our sport,” Lozano noted.

Both coaches fully believe that wrestling’s future in Belmont “is more than promising. We actually see us achieving some realistic goals,” said Lozano.

“It’s only up from here,” said Curren.

As for the wrestlers, the question is with so many good sports teams to try out for, why choose to wrestle. 


“Because it’s one of the, if not the most intense physical sports there is. I’ll keep working hard and practicing and try to get better,” Lipson said.

“It’s a sport I don’t have to worry about a team or a ball, I just have to worry about the other guy and myself. It’s all very simplistic,” said Rona, a 9th grader who enjoys physics.

So, how do you use physics in wrestling?

“You don’t,” said Rona.

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Parade Feb. 4 for ‘Belmont Becca’ Pizzi, World Marathon Challenge Champ

Photo: Becca Pizzi at the finish of the final race with men’s champ Dan Cartica.

In a display of strength and guts, a young single mom from Belmont who holds down two jobs and trains with purpose won one of the most challenging running events imaginable in a time that will be difficult for future runners to match.

Becca Pizzi, the life-long Belmontonian, conquered the second World Marathon Challenge in which runners race seven marathons in consecutive days on the seven continents, becoming the Women’s Champion in the early morning of Saturday, Jan. 30  in Sydney, Australia. She is the first American woman to both finish and win the race.

To celebrate Pizzi’s accomplishment and victory, a parade will be held in her honor in Belmont Center on Thursday, Feb. 4 at 3:30 p.m., sponsored by Belmont Savings Bank.

At today’s final leg on the Manly Beach course, Pizzi once again won the women’s race going away, winning in 4:08.51, only the second time in seven races that she failed to break four hours. In the seven races, Pizzi average less than four hours for each race, an amazing accomplishment as only two men races faster over the seven days. 

Pizzi joins US Marine Dan Cartica who won the men’s race averaging just more than three and a half hours per marathon. 

Diamant’s ‘The Boston Girl’ Selected As One Book One Belmont 2016

Photo: The cover of the novel, “The Boston Girl” by Anita Diamant.

Anita Diamant’s best-selling novel “The Boston Girl” has been selected as the featured title for One Book One Belmont 2016, Belmont Public Library’s sixth town-wide reading program.

The library and 11 co-sponsoring community groups invite town residents to read the book and participate in book discussions and other related activities throughout the month of April.  

Diamant, the author of “The Red Tent” and “Day After Night” will speak in Belmont on Tuesday, April 26.


Author Anita Diamant.

Dora Levy Mossanen in the Huffington Post, called the book,“the story of every immigrant and the difficulties of adapting to and accepting an unfamiliar culture.”

The novel unfolds as 85-year-old Addie Baum attempts to answer her granddaughters’ question, “How did you get to be the woman you are today?” Baum begins by describing the one-room tenement apartment in the North End where she grew up with her Russian immigrant parents, two sisters, and sometimes a boarder during the early years of the 20th century.  

Through a book club for young women at the Salem Street Settlement House and several life-changing summers in Rockport, Baum is introduced to a new world where women can go to high school and college, have a career, and live on their own. Against the opposition of her parents, Baum charts her own course during a time of upheaval; World War I, Prohibition, the great flu epidemic, the Depression and passage of women’s right to vote. 

The One Book One Belmont Planning Committee, made up of representatives of the library and various town departments and commissions, selected the book after reviewing suggestions from library patrons and staff.

“’The Boston Girl’ was the third most checked-out book at the Belmont Public Library in 2015,” said Library Director Peter Struzziero.

“So you can see it strikes a chord with our readers. I think it reminds them of their grandmother’s story, or their mother’s story, or even their own story, the immigrant experience of being torn between two cultures,” he said.

One Book One Belmont Co-Chair Emily Reardon hopes the book will inspire readers to share their own stories with other family members. This spring, the Library is collaborating with the Council on Aging, the Belmont Media Center, and the Belmont Citizen-Herald on an oral history project along the lines of StoryCorps, recording interviews of Belmont citizens conducted by their grandchildren and other relatives and friends.

One Book One Belmont 2016 is supported by the Friends of the Belmont Public Library and the cosponsors: Belmont Against Racism, Belmont Citizen-Herald and WickedLocal Belmont, Belmont Gallery of Art, Belmont Historical Society, Belmont Library Foundation, Belmont Media Center, Belmont Public Schools, Belmont World Film, the Council on Aging, Porter Square Books, and the Recreation Department.

You can borrow “The Boston Girl” from the library in many different formats: hardcover, paperback, large print, book on CD, ebook or audiobook from the Overdrive catalog, and on some of the Library’s circulating Kindles. To place a request, visit the library website at or call the reference desk, 617-993-2870

To place a request, visit the library website at or call the reference desk, 617-993-2870.

BREAKING: State Approves School District’s Plan to Renovate Belmont High School

Photo: The MSBA voting to invite Belmont to begin the process to renovate Belmont High School.

A decade of applications and waiting ended at 10:44 a.m. Wednesday morning, Jan. 27 in a crowded board room at 40 Broad St. in Boston as the Massachusetts State Building Authority voted to invite the Belmont School District to begin the process that Belmont officials anticipate will result in the complete renovation of Belmont High School and the construct of a new science wing at the Concord Avenue campus.

Massachusetts Treasurer Deb Goldberg, who heads the MSBA, made the announcement before nearly 100 school administrators and staff, politicians and local elected officials, including Belmont Superintendent John Phelan, Belmont High Principal Dan Richards and Belmont School Committee Chair Laurie Slap. 

“This is great news for the town of Belmont,” said Slap after the vote. 

See a video of the Belmont delegation responding to the vote: (from left: Superintendent John Phelan, School Committee Chair Laurie Slap and Belmont High Principal Dan Richards. 

Belmont High was the only high school to be selected, joining seven elementary schools from Harvard, Lexington. Ludlow, Manchester Essex, Marlborough, Tisbury and Triton Regional districts to make the final cut.

A total of 26 building projects were vying for approval this year, including Arlington High School and the Maria Hastings Elementary School in Lexington. 

With the MSBA vote, the clock begins running as the district enters a 270-day “eligibility period” in which the district is required to complete preliminary steps including forming a school building committee, hiring a building manager and conducting a feasibility study which establishes a process for the district to be reimbursed for eligible expenses. This is the first of eight “modules” the district and town will need to complete to receive the state grant. 

(The process of creating a building committee is already underway as the special town meeting on Feb. 8 will include a vote to create a high school building committee.)

“During those 270 days, we’ll work all that information through and then meet with the community,” said Phelan.

For the Belmont delegation, the next few weeks will be educating themselves on what the state expects from the district.

“That’s what we going to find out in the next meeting, it’s the details,” said Richards.


The project price tag, based on an updated 2008 estimation, was calculated at $79.6 million. With eight years of inflation added to the 2008 figure, the total cost is now closer to $100 million.

With a third of the eligible costs reimbursed by the MSBA, Belmont taxpayers will be responsible for $66 to $70 million of the total cost.

“This [project] has been on everyone’s minds for years and years,” said Slap. “Everyone understands the need for a renovated school so our job is to make sure that we plan this as carefully and thoughtfully as we can. We are always very respectful of taxpayer’s dollars but this is a critical project that has to be done.” 

“We are going to have lots of time to educate the community and lots of community involvement. Stay tuned, there is lots to come,” said Slap. 

Under the 2008 revision of the 2004 Belmont High School master plan:
  • Construction at the school will take place in four phases over four years so students will remain on the existing campus,
  • All construction will be within the 257,000 sq.-ft. footprint of the current building, and
  • A 34,000 sq.-ft. Science wing will be built in the parking lot adjacent the Wenner Field House and the Higginbottom Pool.

The renovation of the five-decade-old school building is critical as it is currently “structurally unsound” and “jeopardize the health and safety of the school children,” according to Belmont’s 2014 SOI submitted to the MSBA.

The new science center will add 13.5 percent more classroom and lab space to the school, with the hope of “eliminat[ing] the existing severe overcrowding” at the school. The district is predicting an additional 254 students at the high school by fiscal 2024.

Town Meeting Warrant Opens in February for Citizen Petitions

Photo: Belmont Town Meeting.

Have you ever said, “There ought to be a law in this town!

Here’s your chance to do just that.

The town warrant – the document that calls for the annual Town Meeting which Board of Selectmen voted to approve at last night’s Selectmen’s meeting – will be “open” from Feb. 1 to Feb. 29 for residents who wish to add their own article to be heard and voted on by the 290-member Town Meeting in May.

“Citizens are welcomed to submit petitions,” said Belmont Town Clerk Ellen Cushman.

Under Massachusetts law, residents may place articles before the annual Town Meeting without approval by the Selectmen by petitioning the Town Clerk to insert the article into the warrant. Officially, it only requires ten signatures on the petition from residents to secure a place on the warrant although Cushman recommends 15 to be on the safe side.

While not all petitions are successful, a good portion succeeded to become bylaws. In the past few years, citizen’s petitions on banning smoking in town playgrounds, combining school and town building supervision, restricting yard sales and requiring residents to shovel snow from sidewalks have passed Town Meeting muster and included into the bylaws.

For those residents thinking about putting their stamp on the town’s bylaws, Cushman advises petitioners to do their homework and be prepared to work with town officials and government groups to construct their appeal to have the chance of a favorable vote before Town Meeting.

For those seeking changes to the town’s zoning bylaws should meet with the Planning Board and the town’s Office of Community Development while those looking to alter the town’s budget priorities need to get in touch with the Warrant and Capital Budget committees and the town’s financial departments, said Cushman.

With all petitions Town Counsel, George Hall will review each, to determine that they do not violate the state or US constitutions.

“So it’s important that citizens start the process earlier than later to receive advice in drafting their petitions and getting the support they need to give themselves a good chance before Town Meeting,” said Cushman.

Williams: Belmont’s Unfunded Benefits Policy ‘No Longer Valid’, Town Must Restructure Debt Now

Photo: Selectman Jim Williams.

To the Belmontonian:

Some supporters have related that the “Belmont Street” is critical of the ideas I have put forth around the town’s management of its unfunded benefits obligations because it’s unlikely that I’ll be living in Belmont in 2026. While I have no idea as to whether we’ll be living in Belmont (or even living for that matter, but let that go), we all have some idea of the magnitude of the commitments Belmont has already made and is making to its employees and retirees. Also, we have some idea of how the town is currently managing these duties and my professional opinion is that the Belmont’s current policies and strategies are no longer valid based on what we know.

More specifically:

  • Town Counsel George Hall confirmed that the Belmont Retirement Board is responsible for managing the town’s pension obligation and manages that responsibility in part by determining how pension obligations are funded thru annual negotiations with the Board of Selectmen. The BOS then puts forward an annual warrant addressing the agreed funding schedule for review by the Warrant Committee and consideration by Town Meeting, which appropriates funding if agreed.  
  • The BOS is responsible for town’s pension policy and strategy. The same is true for OPEB policy and strategy albeit Town Treasurer Floyd Carman did propose and gain approval from past BOS administrations to set up and begin minimal funding the town’s OPEB Trust. So, the town treasurer is not responsible for benefits policies and strategies; the board is.
  • First Southwest, Inc. has not advised the current or past selectmen on town pension or OPEB policy or strategy and has not been formally engaged by the town to do so.

Given the above as background and because the financial and operating challenges Belmont faces over the next decade are unprecedented, the following are proposed for our consideration:

  • The status quo pension and OPEB strategies need to be addressed in the fiscal 2017 budget cycle and require our immediate attention.
  • The town can issue a Request for Proposal to engage a financial advisor to assist us in evaluating new strategies to meet our known benefits obligations. My recommendation is that the Town meet with the following firms: Stifle, Inc.; Kopelman and Paige PC; Seagal Group, Inc.; and FirstSouthwest, Inc.  
  • As a policy, Belmont should restructure its unfunded pension obligation amortization schedule by 1.) extending its maturity to 2035 using a straight line amortization schedule and 2.) structure a partial refunding (amount to be determined) by issuing a 20-year pension obligation bond to reduce near term cash outflow and extend the commitment.
  • As a policy, the town should undertake the funding of the Net Present Value of its current OPEB obligation estimate for the 30th year of the forecast using a discount rate of 7.75 percent annually going forward. This should be accomplished beginning in fiscal 2016 using funding from free cash flow.
  • Belmont should restructure its pension obligations and fund its resulting current obligations annually.

Mark Twain said: “Never make projections, especially about the future.” It would be so nice if we could use this idea as the basis for managing our benefits obligations, but we can’t because the cost of these long term commitments can be readily estimated as committed and they need to be funded annually with present value funding. If not, Belmont will end up with enormous obligations payable as we go forward, and this debt will beggar our operating, capital, and financial capabilities. 

It’s simply not fair to future Belmont generations which bring me back to the opening remarks of this opinion. It may be that the town might be better off if we all assume that we are not going to be around in 2026 because it draws attention to how unpredictable the future is and the need to take care of today’s business today.

Jim Williams

Belmont Selectman, Town Meeting Member

Sports: Tournament-Bound Belmont Boys’ Basketball Await Watertown

Photo: Matt Kerans after Friday’s victory at Wakefield.

For Belmont Boys Basketball Head Coach Adam Pritchard, it’s great to see his team earn a return trip to the post-season MIAA tournament.

It’s even nicer to reach that goal in January. With a record of 11-3, there is no need for a late season rush, or sitting on the sidelines hoping other teams will fall to the wayside after the Marauders’ beat back a resilent Wakefield team on the road this past Friday, Jan. 22.

“Life’s good,” said Pritchard after the 55-49 victory. “We got a great effort from a lot of different players.”

While Wakefield (8-3) was able to stay close in the first half, Belmont would take the lead in the second quarter from deep outside, hitting five consecutive three-point shots accounting for Belmont’s 15 points, leading at the half, 29-26.

The Marauders sank 10 threes including four from captain senior point guard Matt Kerans (who finished with a game high 20 points) and three from the big man, senior center Justin Wagner (11 points). 

“We worked on it yesterday. We suspected that they were going to use a ‘box and one’ (where four players commit to a zone defense while the fifth player takes on the other team’s best player one-on-one) with Cole (Bartels, the team’s shooting guard) absent so we said we are going to shot as many threes until they come out man-to-man against us. Luckly the shots went in,” said Pritchard. 

During that time, Belmont relied on role players, such as Bryan Goodwin (5 points including a three), Tomas Donoyan (a pair of baskets) and sixth-man junior Daron Hamparian (2 points) who played significant minutes in the middle quarters. 

“We have a lot of good basketball players on the team who worked hard in practice. As we say, adversity equals opportunity and since we have a starter injured, it was an opportunity for some of those guys to get in there and contribute,” 

Wakefield made a run at Belmont in the third behind its scoring leader Corey Imbriano who scored 8 of his team’s high 10 points in the quarter to have the Warriors level with the Marauders at 43 points entering the final eight minutes.

But as Pritchard has said in the past, it’s good to have Kerans out on the court in the final frame as the pre-season Middlesex League co-MVP hit a three and was sent to the line to make 3 of 4 from the line, equaling Wakefield’s total for the quarter as Belmont’s defense prevented the Warriors from taking any comfortable shots.

Next up for Belmont is the rivalry match with Watertown High at the Wenner on Tuesday, Jan 26 at 7 p.m. 


Will bfresh Finally Save Developer’s Vision of Cushing Village?

Photo: bfresh in Belmont?

According to two sources with knowledge of talks transpiring between the parties, it appears the developer of the long-stalled Cushing Village development is seeking to bring a new small-format supermarket developed by a large international chain to become the project’s anchor tenant.

According to sources, developer Smith Legacy Partners is in discussions with Ahold, the Netherland-based parent of Stop & Shop Supermarket Company of Quincy, to bring its test model bfresh concept market to the 164,000 sq.-ft. residential/retail/parking complex at the corner of Common Street and Trapelo Road in the heart of Cushing Square.

The bfresh concept was created by Fresh Formats; a Ahold company started in 2014 to explore new and innovative format opportunities, in an attempt to compete with other smaller stores such as Traders Joe.

According to Suzi Robinson, marketing magus for Fresh Formats would only say “we’re exploring opportunities for future stores in the greater Boston area, but don’t have any news to share yet.”

A representative from Smith Legacy has not yet responded to questions. In the past week, Starr said his search for a “small-format food store anchor tenant” is “progressing.” 

The importance of a large retail tenant to secure the future of the project was stressed in a pair of updates Starr provided the Planning Board since the beginning of the year, stating “construction financing has hinged in the past on our retail pre-leading activity.” As of Jan. 25, the development team said they have secured only two 

As of Jan. 25, the development team said they have obtained only a pair of leases in the 31 months since it was granted approval to begin construction. The two potential tenants – a restaurant/pub and an unnamed “national” retailer so far will fill about 12,000 of the 38,000 sq.-ft. retail space available. 

It will be crucial for the Smith Legacy team to “land” a multi-year lease to reassure lenders of its financial wherewithal. It is why Starr has been trumpeting the fact his team is actively courting bfresh. 

“We are in discussions with a financially strong, experienced, market[-]leader that prides itself on providing fresh, high-quality prepared food and other necessities in a small format store,” wrote Starr in the second of the updates.

The reason a deal has not been struck so far has to do with the experimental nature of the concept itself – Ahold wants to take a longer look at the stores’ performance (a second outlet was opened in Fairfield, Conn. in October) – and what appears to be a very competitive environment for this model in Belmont, with the existing Russo’s Market in nearby Watertown and a Foodies Urban Market to open in Belmont Center in the fall of 2016 with a Cushing Village operation unlikely ready until 2017.

Ahold opened its inaugural bfresh store in Boston’s Allston neighborhood in September in a former Staples at 214 Harvard Ave. a block from Comm. Ave. bfresh is a test model store that “presents itself as a solution for neighborhood shoppers — particularly young people — frustrated by compromises on quality, price and convenience at typical food stores,” reported Supermarket News on Aug 20, 2015.

The small for supermarket 10,000 sq.-ft. store is “focused on “fresh foods, smart value, and right in your hood” according to the Ahold website, offering “more natural and organic options than a typical market, vegan and gluten-free options, and foods from around the world.”

Stores also stock freshly prepared foods in its “Little Kitchen™, a fresh-on-the-spot experience that brings made from scratch, always fresh, seasonal meals into the store. Menus change daily, showcasing simple recipes made with fresh ingredients for maximum taste.”