Sunday, May 17, 2015

A Brief Update on the Bedford Marketplace Renovations

Construction continues at Bedford Marketplace. Above is the new building going up that faces Great Road. The left front of the building is expected to house a Bank with a drive thru in the rear. Once this building has been completed and tenants have moved in, the old building that housed Cafe Luigi's, Bank of America and other tenants will be demolished.

New trees have been added to the shopping center. The Green Bags around the base of the trees are known as Treegators. They are filled with about 15 gallons of water which is slowly released over a period of about a week. The bags are then refilled.

A new front entranceway has been proposed for Whole Foods.  The new addition which would stand in front of the existing storefront, has a maximum height of 45 feet.

The new 17,000 square foot building to the left of Marshall's. The section to the left of the telephone pole will be Red Heat Tavern which is expected to open this fall. The right section which is just under 12,000 square feet, appears to still be under negotiation with a prospective tenant (unconfirmed reports have indicated this may be a pet store). While the new buildings are all one story, they are much higher than the existing buildings.

As part of the renovation to help improve traffic flow, a left turn lane was just added (view is heading east on Great Road). The traffic signal still needs to be updated along with the no left turn sign on the traffic pole.

Above is a general overview of how the shopping center will look once renovations have been completed. The center building that currently houses Lincoln Liquors will be rebuilt closer to Great Road with the Liquor store being moved to the back of the building. In addition, a Learning Express Toys store has been proposed for the front of the building and is currently up for review by the zoning board of appeals.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Colasante Hair Studio Moves to the Depot District

Colasante Hair Studio recently moved from the Bedford Marketplace to the Bedford Depot Building at 80 Loomis Street. The shop which opened in November 2013, replaced the Center Hair Stylist barbershop. 

The Studio also sells a wide assortment of retail hair products.
The space, which was just renovated was formerly occupied by JRM Antiques.

As previously reported, the Studio's expertise is in hair coloring. The stylists makes frequent use of hair color products with protein and extra virgin olive oil to condition the hair and keep the color shiny.

The Bedford Depot Building which was formerly used as a railroad station, underwent an exterior renovation in 2014 that included new doors and windows along with a handicap-accessible restroom.

The Bedford Depot building is now fully leased out.

It's good to see retail back in the Depot Building. Along with the renovations (which have improved the look and feel of the Depot District), there have also been improvements with signage but some additional improvements may still be needed to draw retail traffic.

The Depot District will soon be getting additional retail space with the completion of The Crossing at Bedford (54 Loomis Street) this summer which includes 2800 square feet and the expansion of the Bikeway Source building adds another 1250 square feet.

How the Depot Building looked in 2008 before a series of renovations.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Holi, Bedford's First Indian Restaurant is now Open

Holi Indian Restaurant located at 20 North Road is now open. The restaurant replaces Dalya's which closed last December. Holi is managed by Amarjit Singh, who is one of the owners at Zaika Indian Bistro in Woburn.

The space underwent an interior renovation resulting in a much more modern and colorful appearance.

The new restaurant which has about 100 seats plus a small bar area, will be open from 11:30am until 11pm most days. A lunch buffet will be available until 3pm daily. Amarjit also has plans to offer delivery within a 3 mile radius.

The upstairs dining room is available for corporate functions and private parties

It's good to see a new restaurant come in to the Dayla's location so quickly. Bedford has been missing an Indian Restaurant. Key to success will be attracting employees who work in Bedford to come in for lunch or after work for dinner. Currently many of them go to Burlington or Billerica for Indian Food.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Whole Foods Planning New Entrance as Part of Bedford MarketPlace Renovations

The Whole Foods at 170 Great Road in the Bedford MarketPlace has submitted plans for a new front entranceway. The new addition which would stand in front of the existing storefront, has a maximum height of 45 feet and a mean height of 39 feet. The building itself has a height of about 21 feet.

Depiction of proposed entrance way. Please click on the image for a larger view.
The current zoning in Bedford allows for a maximum height of 37 feet. Since the average height of the structure is 39 feet, Whole Foods has applied for a variance from the Zoning Board of Appeals.

Side view of the proposed entrance way. Please click on the image for a more detailed view.

1. It seems like Whole Foods is interested in getting more visibility from the front of the shopping center. This may be due to the fact that the new one story buildings in front of and to the side of Whole Foods will be at least a few feet taller than the previous buildings. It could also be due to competition with the new Wegmans in Burlington.

Front of the new Wegmans in Burlington
2. With the new building going up next to Marshall's (which along with the Red Tavern Restaurant is expected to have about 12,000 square feet of additional retail space), the facade at Marshall's is looking pretty out of date. It will be interesting to see if this is updated.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

New Indian Restaurant Holi Set to Open March 16th at former Dalya's Location

Holi Indian Restaurant which is located at 20 North Road, is expected to open Monday March 16th. This replaces Dalya's which closed in December. The location has undergone an interior renovation. Holi will be managed by Amarjit Singh, who is one of the owners at Zaika Indian Bistro in Woburn.

The new restaurant is expected to have 100 seats along with a function room and will be open for lunch and dinner 7 days a week. Delivery is expected to be available. This will be the first Indian Restaurant in Bedford.

Stay tuned for more details around mid March.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Flatbread Pizza Looking to Add Outdoor Seating

Flatbread Pizza at 213 Burlington Road is looking to add outdoor seating. The restaurant, which opened it's Bedford location in 2006, is interested in adding some outdoor seating before summer. The seats would likely be located adjacent to the main entrance. Adding outdoor seats triggers a restaurant operation change and will most likely require approval by the planning board and health department.

The proposed seating is adjacent to the front of the restaurant which is on the left side of this photo.
2015 looks to be a big year for outdoor seating for Bedford Restaurants. In addition to Flatbread, Cucina D, Ken's Deli, Red Heat Tavern and Ginger are all exploring adding outdoor seating.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Salem Five Bank Now Open on Great Road

Salem Five Bank is now open at 285 Great Road, the former site of the Bedford Travelodge Motel.

I recently spoke with Scott Fisher, Vice President, Market Manager for Business Development at the Bedford Branch. According to Scott, Salem Five has been around since 1855. It's a community bank that until recently was focused on the North Shore. A few years ago the Bank decided to expand in to Middlesex County and opened branches at the Burlington Mall and in Concord. These were doing well so they thought it made sense to open another branch between these locations. They settled on Bedford. The Bank now has 29 Branches and plans to continue to open additional branches in the next few years (their newest branch is set to open soon in Needham).

The Bank offer a full range of consumer and business services. As Marketing Manager, part of Scott's job is to interact with the community including local businesses. Scott mentioned that they provide special banking benefits to employees of companies who have an account with the Salem Five.

The branch features a drive through along with heated sidewalks. There is an additional 1600 square feet of retail space available for lease in the building.
The Bedford Branch at around 2500 square feet, is a little smaller than the traditional bank branch. Salem Five recently updated it's bank designs and in doing so eliminated teller lines, giving the bank a more sleek modern appearance. According to Scott, six people currently work in the branch including an in-house financial consultant and a mortgage specialist.

The new bank features a teller pod in place of the traditional teller windows
While the Bank's soft opening was on December 11th, they spent the past few weeks getting involved in many civic organizations in and around Bedford. In addition, they recently distributed free Apple Pies to many businesses and households in Bedford. The Bank has scheduled a grand opening celebration for January 31st and February 1st. According to Scott, the theme will be a winter wonderland with the bank turning a portion of their parking lot in to an ice skating rink. The bank plans to have ice skates available for anyone who wants to skate along with a Hot Chocolate, Hot Cider and Cookie Bar for anyone who stops by.

The Branch includes a ' Take Five Lounge'  with a television along with free coffee and tea.
The bank seems to be focused on being consumer facing. Besides being open seven days most weeks, Salem Five has a policy of opening 15 minutes earlier and closing 15 minutes later than their scheduled hours just in case you are running a few minutes early or late before or after work

Along with their traditional banking services, the bank has developed a interactive loyalty program featuring Dustin Pedroia designed to teach kids who open an account, about investing and saving money. Salem Five is also looking in to rolling out more mobile services such as Apple Pay.

The ideas of staying open a few extra minutes seems to be a smart one. It presents a positive customer experience to people versus business that try to rush you out before closing. For example at Stop and Shop, 30 minutes before they close, they usually announce they will be closing in 30 minutes over the loud speakers. They then proceed to repeat the announcement every five to ten minutes almost like a countdown clock.

The past few years have featured in increase in the number of banks in Bedford and surrounding areas. Landlords tend to favor banks as tenants as they almost always pay their rent on time. In Lexington, the town is considering a moratorium that would prohibit new bank branches from opening in Lexington Center. What are your thoughts on that?