Northeast Real Estate Business

MAY 2018

Northeast Real Estate Business magazine covers the multifamily, retail, office, healthcare, industrial and hospitality sectors in the Northeast United States.

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38 • May 2018 • Northeast Real Estate Business modern and energized to reflect the area." "When we embarked on this renova- tion, the mall hadn't been touched real- ly in the 25 years of its existence," con- tinues Manny Steiner, vice president of leasing at New England Development. "The idea was that, here is this hugely powerful neighborhood surrounded by world class institutions and cor- porations — you have MIT, Harvard, world class labs doing research, and we're really surrounded by the who's who of biotech. The neighborhood is on the cutting edge. We looked at our mall, and thought, 'how can this mall be an expression of what's happening in the immediate area?'" The renovation brought new life into the mall with the integration of clean, modern lines and bold colors. The in- teriors now include a more transpar- ent railing for cleaner, more open sight lines; seamless glass throughout the property; updated lighting, including LED lighting throughout the center and garage; updated flooring; modi- fied entrances; improvements to the heating and air conditioning systems; and the installation of new escalators throughout. "People who have known this mall for a long time were really blown away by what we did," says Steiner. "The old mall had a lot of brass and dark- er surfaces, like granite floors, which were beautiful, but just not contem- porary anymore. The mall also had a lot of magenta, turquoise and gold ac- cents — colors that were more popular in the late '80s and '90s. We did away with that. We wanted to bring the wa- ters from the canal into the design of the shopping center and really create a fluidity with our surroundings." Placemaking was at the top of the list for the renovation, as New Eng- land Development aimed to deliver a better shopper experience. The reno- vation included the addition of hos- pitality seating areas, state-of-the-art Wi-Fi, bistro seating and gathering spots along the banks of the Lechmere Canal and planters with live florals throughout the center's interior. New England Development is also working on bringing new tenants to the center's roster. "We have a num- ber of deals that we are working on," says Steiner. "We have interest from a diverse group of users. The unique thing about this center is that it is not your traditional suburban mall. This center has much more flexibility, and it is really integrated into the neigh- borhood. We're looking at how to con- tinue to integrate and make the center even more relevant to the dense, af- fluent neighborhood in which it is lo- cated. There's clearly opportunity and a need for fitness, grocers and service uses." The renovations are also exciting for existing tenants, who are feeling the impact of a refreshed property. "We are seeing double digit increases in sales, and that's reflective of the reno- vation," says Rotigliano. "It is show- ing us that we're really bringing the people in, and they are loving it. We're getting great feedback from the ten- ants." The center is currently 95 percent leased. "Moving forward, we're tour- ing housewares retailers, a well-rec- ognized, national boutique-fitness op- erator," says Steiner. "What does well in our center is food and electronics, and we've been conscious in our food court of trying to make it feel less like a food court. The renovation involved modifying the space and freshening it up, but for us, it's really a question of the tenants. We want to stay local and interesting." Steiner and Rotigliano note that success in a shopping center is much different today than it was in decades past. "It's no longer just about the store in shopping centers today," says Roti- gliano. "Shoppers want to come in and experience something. We're finding it is as simple as upgrading the seat- ing areas around the center — we're receiving feedback on that. Shoppers want to be part of a community and to really be able to enjoy the space." To drive traffic into the site, New England Development is hosting events at the center, including those featuring local tech companies, style events hosted by fashion editors and health-focused classes for the fitness- minded. "We held a great event where everything was centered on fashion," says Rotigliano. "We utilized stations throughout the center — which really showcased the full development — featuring local mixologists and chefs. It tied in our retail tenants, as well, with a focus on fashion." "As we look at the future of leas- ing, especially in an asset like this that needs to continue to integrate further into its neighborhood and the urban fabric surrounding it, it's important to understand what's going on in the community and drill down to the grassroots level," says Steiner. "We have taken a great amount of interest to really understand what our store managers are seeing and what we are missing. I think much more outreach and involvement in all of the areas around us is imperative today." n CAMBRIDGESIDE REFLECTS COMMUNITY CAMBRIDGESIDE from page 1 729 Boylston Street Boston, MA 4,753 SF (divisible to 2,400) available Alewife Brook Parkway Cambridge, MA 3,391 SF (divisible to 1,200) available 140 Worcester Road (Rte. 9) Framingham, MA 2,976 SF available Burlington Marketplace Burlington, MA 1,661 & 2,538 SF (may be combined) 292 Newbury Street Boston, MA 1,424 SF available Central Plaza Wellesley, MA 1,348 SF available Leasing Availabilities Meet with us at ICSC RECon in Las Vegas Booth #C138G FEATURED Joel Kadis: Partner - Leasing & Development | 781-202-3544 | Evan Eisenhardt: Vice President - Leasing | 781-202-3536 | Harwich East Plaza Harwich, MA 800 - 2,976 SF available North End Shops at Livingston Park Manchester, NH 1,600 - 3,200 SF & 1.3 acre site The renovated and rebranded CambridgeSide features clean, modern lines. The interiors now include a more transparent railing; seamless glass throughout the property; and updated lighting and flooring. Photo credit: Gustav Hoiland

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