Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Bedford Shopping Center Looking to Expand

Bedford Shopping Center is now over 40 years old and in need of a renovation.

The Bedford Shopping Center at 160 Great Road was purchased a little over 2 years ago by Salvatore Capital Partners for around $15 million. It was originally built in the 1960's. There is currently just over 100,000 square feet of retail space of which about 80% is equally split between Marshalls and Whole Foods. The remainder is taken up by smaller businesses like The Post Office and Cafe Luigi's. Salvatore Capital Partners is planning to make updates to the existing buildings and add an additional 65,000 square feet of retail space.

The preliminary plans are to
  • Add a building adjacent to Whole Foods
  • Add several additional buildings adjacent to Marshalls.
  • Demolish the Post Office mail sorting building (the USPS would move next to Marshalls).
  • Rebuild the building containing Bank Of America and Luigi's closer to where the USPS mail sorting building is currently located
  • Add an additional small building near Great Road
  • Add a small amount of retail space to the front of Whole Foods for a Florist or similar type store
A sketch outlining the preliminary plans for the Bedford Shopping Center expansion/renovation. Please click on the image for a larger picture.

In addition, the current plans include replacing the facades of the current buildings to give it a more updated look and more of a feel of a town center type of area by differentiating the look of each store. There are also listed changes to improve pedestrian access and also to help traffic flow such as widening the center entrance.

The parking lot would also include some landscaping to break down the scale of the parking lot.

As far as what stores would go in the new space, there has been interest expressed by restaurants (with possible outdoor seating facing near Great Road) as well as Banks with a drive-thru.

While the plans are preliminary and no date has been set for construction to begin, the landlord is currently advertising 40,000 square feet being available Summer of 2008. At this stage of the game the owner has just begun getting feedback from the town departments and residents.

One of the interesting things about the two large shopping centers in Bedford is that most residents don't refer to them by their actually names (Bedford Shopping Center and Great Road Shopping Center) but rather by the anchor stores Marshalls/Whole Foods and Stop and Shop/TJ Maxx. This is something that Salvatore Capital Partners mentioned as well. I recommend coming up with a new name for Bedford Shopping Center. Actually I am proposing that Salvatore Capital Partners hold a contest for town residents to come up with the new name. This would get more Bedford residents involved in the planning process and in the long run help build support to move this project forward.

The current Marshalls does have the now dated late 1960's look.

There is currently plenty of parking available as long as you don't mind parking in Saskatchewan. The expansion will result in a shorter walk from the furthest parking spots.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Ice Rink Opens in Bedford

After more than 30 years, Bedford once again has an ice rink. Last week the 200 by 85 feet NHL regulation size ice rink at The Edge Sports Center located on Hartwell Road opened. Among it's many users, the new rink will be used by Hockey Teams and for public skating.
The new sports center is located at 191 Hartwell Road

As I mentioned in a previous post, the new rink has seats for over 300 spectators. It also includes full locker rooms for both sexes.

The 18,000 square foot rink is regulation size and has all the amenities including a full scoreboard.

The opening of the ice rink completes the first phase of the Edge Sports Center. An 14,000 square foot indoor turf field is scheduled to open in early December and the fitness training center around the end of the year. The turf field will be used by Soccer, Lacrosse and other teams especially during the winter months.

The large lobby area has tables for food/snacks, nearby video games and WiFi access.

What I found most unusual about this project was how quickly it was approved and built. The total time from first proposal to the planning board to the opening was less than one year. Normally projects of this size in Bedford take several years as they go through revisions and face opposition. It appears this project had the support of many of the town departments and faced little resistance. I also thought that the fact that the developer had a firm deadline in getting the project approved in order to obtain financing helped solidify the decision making process.

The Ice Schedule is displayed on a large screen right after you walk in.

The main entrance to The Edge Sports Center of Bedford.

Friday, November 2, 2007

ACE Hardware Coming to Bedford

The new store will take up both of the available units in the Great Road Shopping Center. This is the space that was previously occupied by Santoros Hardware and CFO (Clothing Fashion Outlet?). It is located between Payless Shoes and Stop and Shop. Construction on the new hardware store has not yet begun but according to reports, the store should open this upcoming spring. The Owner of the store is Rick Sargent, who also owns Moison’s Ace in Groton.
Construction has not yet begun, but a sign announces a new ACE Hardware store planned for the Great Road Shopping Center. It will be located right next to Stop and Shop.

Currently the closest hardware stores are in Concord and Burlington. The Home Depot scheduled to be built in Billerica is still before the planning board but is looking like it will move forward.