New Bedford, Wareham also eye Sysco

By Brian Boyd

Ever since Lakeville voters spurned Sysco Boston, the food service company is hearing from a flood of other potential suitors.

New Bedford and Wareham are the latest communities to publicly show interest, and they are not alone. Sysco wanted to build a $110 million distribution center in Lakeville to replace its existing Norton center.

Chuck Fraser, an executive vice president at the company, said since Tuesday he has received 50 calls regarding possible locations. But he stayed away from any specifics since the company’s new search for a home is in the early stages.

“We’re very excited about the opportunities we have to look at, but it’s much too premature to comment about whom we’re meeting with and what direction we’re looking at,” Fraser said Thursday.

Lakeville Town Meeting late Monday voted 727-704 against a proposed zoning change that would have paved the way for the project. The measure, which required a two-thirds majority to pass, did not even muster a simple majority. Opponents had cited traffic, noise and environmental concerns.

Mayor Scott W. Lang and Matthew A. Morrissey, executive director of the New Bedford Economic Development Council, have expressed their interest in going after Sysco and bringing the distribution center to the New Bedford Business Park.

Morrissey said Thursday he had talked briefly with Fraser and learned more about the company’s requirements for a new distribution center. Based on that, officials will narrow the possible locations in the park that would be suitable, he said.

“We are now in the process of going through the requirements and lining them up with sites we have in the park,” Morrissey said. If they come up with a few sites that work, they will meet with Fraser next week, he said.

When trying to lure Sysco, New Bedford officials would make a strong argument about the city’s strengths: a skilled work force, access to transportation, success in working with other companies, and a proven track record for fast-tracking permits, he said.

Wareham Town Administrator Mark Andrews alluded to the recent developments with the Sysco project at a selectmen’s meeting

Tuesday night, and indicated the town would pursue the possibility of becoming the company’s new home.
Middleboro and Freetown had earlier made known their interest in the project.

Staff writer Dan McDonald contributed to this report.
October 22, 2010 12:00 AM

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