Friday, December 21, 2012

Work Continues on New Turf Fields at The Edge

The first outside Turf Field at The Edge on Hartwell Road is nearing completion. 

The expansion project at The Edge includes two full size outdoor lighted fields. One of the new fields is expected to be enclosed over the winter months so it can be used year round. As part of the expansion, the existing indoor turf field was converted to a second ice rink. The Edge is leasing the land from Massport. It was previously leased by the Air Force.

These fields will be available for rental by local sports teams. With the town meeting approval for converting Sabourin Field to Turf, there will soon be three full size lighted turf fields in Bedford.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Outside Work on Blake Block Just about Complete

The exterior "streetscape" associated with the Blake Block is just about complete. The fence has been taken down, tree's have been planted and benches have been added. At least one bike rack will be installed. The project was designed with wider sidewalks. The other end of the building features a patio for outdoor dining.

The retail space is now fully leased. In addition to Ginger and Bedford Rug returning, new tenants include A Frozen Yogurt Shop, A Deli and A High Tech Fitness Club.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Work Begins on the new Ginger Restaurant on Blake Block

Ginger Japanese Restaurant which closed in summer 2011, is returning to the Blake Block. General work on the Blake Block has been completed and now Ginger is beginning to build out their restaurant. The new restaurant will be more than twice as large as the old one, encompassing approximately 2800 square feet and contain 82 seats (which includes some outdoor seating on the patio). Ginger also received a full liquor licenses in September, replacing the beer and wine license it previously held.

The new location includes an outdoor patio

The addresses at the Black Block range from 62-88. Ginger made a special request for 88 Great Road. According to Chinese Culture, the number 88 denotes fortune and good luck. Ginger is expected to re-open in early 2013.

Interior work has begun. When completed, the restaurant will have 72 inside seats including a six seat Sushi Bar.

Ginger is one of three new restaurants coming to the Blake Block. It will be good to finally have outdoor seating in Bedford Center.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Rectrix Aviation begins Construction on New FBO at Bedford Hanscom Field

Rectrix Aviation recently started construction for their new Fixed Base Operator (FBO) facility at Hanscom Field. The new Hanger, which replaces the old Hanger 24, will contain about 95,000 square feet of hanger and office space. Rectrix Aviation currently maintains it's corporate headquarters in Bedford at 200 Hanscom Drive and operates FBO's in Hyannis and Sarasota Florida. Rectrix Aviation is also constructing a new FBO at Worcester Airport. Rectrix will be the 3rd FBO at Bedford Hanscom, joining Signature and Jet Aviation (which is also in the process of replacing one of it's hangers). The new facility is expected to open by the end of 2014.

Construction recently started on the new FBO. While technically in Bedford, the construction entrance pictured here is located just off Virginia Road in Concord. The cost of the new facility is expected to be around $15 million.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Carriage House is now Prince Street Cafe

The Carriage House at 200 Great Road is now the Prince Street Cafe & Bakery. According to owner Dana Strayton, the new name better reflects the Cafe's focus on the taste of Boston’s North End (where Prince Street is) and also pays homage to Dana's Grandfather who owned Prince Pastry Shop in the North End. Along with the name change, the interior has undergone some renovations while the menu has remained mostly unchanged.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Cafe Keresa Set to Open

Cafe Keresa located at 119 Great Road, is set to open on December 1st. The new Cafe, replaces Cafe Darling which closed suddenly in Mid October due to a medical issue with it's owner Vicki Parks. Vicki then looked for new owners to take over the business.

I recently spoke with the new owners Kerry Lewis and Teresa Riffe. Kerry and Teresa who both live in Reading, have worked with each other for some time. They were looking for some additional opportunities and found out that the Cafe Darling was for sale and they immediately knew they wanted to buy it. While Kerry has a background in crafts and Teresa has made a lot of wedding cakes, they both have large families and love to cook.

The new name is a combination of Kerry and Teresa. While the Cafe will still focus on Cup Cakes (which will feature their own recipes on a dozen different varieties), the menu is being updated with some new items such as Pancakes, Calzones and Penne Pasta.

The interior, which is undergoing some painting and minor renovations for a more whimsical feel, will keep the same basic layout.

The new Cafe is expected to open every day at 7am and stay open until 3pm Monday-Tuesday,  4pm Wednesday-Saturday and noon on Sunday.

It's good to see the business get re-opened so quickly. Cafe Darling seemed to generate a specific following. It will be interesting to see how the following changes with the new Cafe.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Simply Natural Nails Undergoes Renovation

Simply Natural Nails which opened 2 years ago at 50 Loomis Street, recently underwent a renovation. While the main layout did not change, each of the rooms was updated. In addition to the renovation, the Nail Salon now sells it's own brand of Simply Natural Organic Soap as well as hand made Jewelry.

This building which used to only house medical and dental offices is now home to three different service/retail businesses (The Body Boutique is set to open shortly). It will be interesting to see if additional retail/wellness  oriented businesses set up shop. The building is currently owned by Dr. Michael Garber who runs Bedford Dental Associates on the 2nd floor which also includes Internist Dr. Magda Mikhil.

The waiting area has been updated with new chairs and lighting.

The nail salon features over 100 hundred different color polishes.

 The main room has been brightened and features new furniture.

The Soap is available for purchase at the Salon and will soon be available online.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

New Pizzeria Opens In Bedford

DeMarco’s Pizzeria recently opened at the Bedford DoubleTree Hotel at 44 Middlesex Turnpike. The new restaurant, which is open for dinner Sunday through Thursday 5pm-10pm, offers 7 varieties of Thin Crust pizza such as traditional Margherita along with more eclectic items such as Lobster Pizza. Along with Pizza, the restaurant also serves beer and wine.

While it appears that the new restaurant is designed to target hotel residents (it advertises fast delivery to the DoubleTree), it will be interesting to see if it ends up attracting local residents and/or nearby workers who want to grab take out on the way home before getting on route 3.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Whole Foods to Undergo Renovation

The Whole Foods in Bedford Marketplace is expected to undergo a $1.5 Million significant renovation. The renovation work is being done by cm&b which has worked with Whole Foods on a number of different projects across the country. The renovation will include new shelving and display cases. Stay tuned for more details.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Cafe Darling Has Closed (at least for now)

Cafe Darling at 119 Great Road appears to be closed according to a post on it's Facebook page. The note on the door mentions it's Temporarily Closed. Stay tuned for more details.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Renovation at Firebox BBQ Adds Bar To Restaurant

Firebox BBQ at 347 Great Road recently completed a renovation, adding a 12 seat bar area and updating the dining room. The restaurant, which recently got approved for a full liquor license, is adding waiter service at dinner and will soon release an updated menu. Firebox is also planning to stay open later (they are currently open until 8pm Mon-Thu and 9pm Fri-Sat).

The new bar area features modern bar stools. While the dining room got updated with black tables and chairs.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Can Bedford Support Another Hotel?

With the recent closing of the Bedford Travelodge, a question that frequently comes up is: Should another hotel be built in Bedford?

Taking a look at current hotel rates in the Bedford area, it seems like there is high demand by business travelers. The full service hotels, Bedford DoubleTree and Burlington Marriott are currently over $300 a night during the week and $100-150 on the weekend. The other nearby hotels such as the Billerica Hampton Inn or Billerica Courtyard range from about $150-250 during the week and around $100 on the weekend. Further away from the business parks, the prices are lower for The Bedford Plaza and Bedford Motel (close to $100 during the week and a little lower on the weekends).

It might make sense to add a business oriented hotel near the Crosby Drive area. The challenge would be filling enough rooms on the weekend. If I had to pick a location, I would go with Burlington Road (MA62) between Crosby Drive and The Melting Pot where there are a couple of vacant office buildings. This is right off Route 3 but still very close to Crosby Drive and Middlesex Turnpike.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Panera Bread coming to Bedford

Panera Bread is currently scheduled to open before the end of the year at 213 Burlington Road. This is the same building as Bamboo, Flatbread Pizza and The Melting Pot. Unlike most Panera Breads, this location is primarily going to be focusing on take out and delivery with a minimal seating area.

As part of the construction, some additional parking spaces are going to be built in front of the building (which is currently grass) facing Burlington Road/MA62.

There are existing traditional Panera Breads located in Burlington, Lexington (recently opened) and Waltham. Panera Bread also owns Paradise Bakery & Cafe which has locations primarily in the Southwest  but does have a location at the Prudential Center in Boston.

It's interesting to note that Panera Bread actually has a Chief Concept Officer to work on new restaurant concepts. They are forecast to open about 120 new stores this year.

I don't know if this Panera Bread will have a different name (Panera Bread Express?). It's interesting that Bedford appears to be one of the first locations for this different concept. With the nearby office parks, it seems like they are targeting office workers with this location.

What do you think? Is this a good idea?

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Firebox BBQ to Add Bar Area and Update Menu

Firebox BBQ at 347 Great Road will undergo a quick renovation starting September 15th. The renovation will include adding a bar area to the rear of the establishment. The restaurant is expected to be closed for around 4 days while the renovation are completed.

Firebox, which was recently approved for a full alcohol license (previous it held a beer and wine license), will see major updates to it's menu. Along with the new menu, Firebox will also roll out waiter service at dinner.

Stay tuned for more details.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Quick Update on 54 Loomis Street Mixed Use Proposal

A second version of the 54 Loomis Street proposal was unveiled on Wednesday. David Cerundolo, the owner of the property explained that he had owned the existing building for close to 20 years. Until recently Pharmalucene (which has since moved to Billerica) had leased the building. Once Pharmalucene left, David begun to explore redeveloping the site.

This new version contains close to 3,000 square feet of retail (up from 1,000) on the ground floor along with 28 apartments (down from 30). According to the owner, the apartments would be 1 and 2 Bedrooms. As far as the building itself, the footprint is about 12,000 square feet (total square footage is around 36K - 12K per floor) which is pretty similar to the existing building.

With the very high vacancy rate for office space in Bedford and surrounding areas (around 20%), it probably makes more financial sense to redevelop the property for retail and housing (Pharmalucene leaving left several buildings vacant on Loomis Street and DeAngelo Drive). The increased retail space would probably be enough for several small stores. With the traffic from the bike path and local area it would be interesting to have a small ice cream or coffee shop.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Chipotle Mexican Grill Coming to Bedford

Chipotle Mexican Grill is coming to Bedford. The restaurant will be located at the old Friendly's location at  343 Great Road. The restaurant is expected to also have outdoor dining. More details should be available soon.

Fast Casual Mexican has been growing in the area. Last year a Chipolte opened on Mall Road in Burlington (old Dandelion Green location) and just last month a Qdoba opened next to Stop and Shop in Lexington. This restaurant should do very well in Bedford. Fast Casual Mexican is something that has been missing in Bedford.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Frozen Yogurt Shop Likely for Blake Block

It looks like a Frozen Yogurt Store is coming to the Blake Block. According to the Massachusetts Corporations Division, a company was recently formed under the name Wicked Good Frozen Yogurt LLC at 80 Great Road.

While the name of the actual company is Wicked Good Frozen Yogurt, I'm guessing that the store may be a franchise for one of the national Frozen Yogurt Chains. Again just a guess.

With most of these stores, your given a large cup, you select the Soft-serve Yogurt you want from a selection of Self Serve Yogurt Dispensers and then add toppings if desired. It's then weighed to determine the price.

An example of Self Serve Frozen Yogurt machines. You select the flavor(s) you want.

The past year have seen a large number of new Frozen Yogurt Stores. Yeh! Yogourt Glace and CafĂ© recently opened on Mall Road in Burlington while Lexington Center has added a Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt. This new Yogurt Shop will be located near Bedford Farms which offers both Ice Cream and Frozen Yogurt. Attracting the High School kids after school will be a key factor in it's success. Offering a place to hang out (i.e. Couches and WiFi like many Starbucks) will probably be beneficial.

New Restaurant to Replace Friendly's

There is a new Fast Food/Quick Service Restaurant planned for the old Friendly's location at 343 Great Road in the Great Road Shopping Center. Friendly's closed back in January shortly after filing for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy.

The new restaurant is expected to be a national Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) chain and will include some outdoor seating. It will not be a Panera Bread (which was originally expected to open after the Bedford Marketplace renovations which are currently on hold).

According to Conviser Property Group which manages the Great Road Shopping Center, the lease is still pending.  

I'm expecting the name to be announced once the lease agreements have been completed. If I had to guess on what the restaurant would be, I would say Qdoba or Chipotle Mexican Grill

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Outdoor Dining Grows in Bedford

The past few months have seen new outdoor dining options in Bedford.

The Boardroom Bistro features outdoor dining for Lunch as well as Sunday Brunch 

The soon to be renamed Carriage House has added several Picnic Tables just across the parking lot. 

The Carriage House also has a few small tables just outside the Cafe.

Cafe Darling which opened earlier this month, has a large patio with lots of tables.

FireBox added several outdoor tables earlier this year. The McDonalds across the street also has some outdoor seating.

 Bistro 44 at The Bedford DoubleTree has an outdoor patio open Tuesday and Wednesday evenings during the summer. The patio also features live music.

Outdoor Dining has become more popular in Massachusetts in the past few years. Almost all new restaurant construction includes outdoor seating.

Ginger, which should be re-opening in the next few months on the Blake Block may include outdoor seating.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Bedford Farmers Market Returns for One Day

After 4 seasons at Depot Park, The Bedford Farmer's Market is returning for 2012 but just for one day at the Town Hall Parking Lot on Sunday July 22nd from 12:30-4:30pm.

I recently spoke with Barbara Purchia, President of The Bedford Farmers Market. According to Barbara, the Farmer's Market has had a hard time attracting visitors. In 2010 the Farmer's Market averaged 360 people per day (up to 700 on the biggest day) with an average spend of $18 per person. In 2011, they averaged 190 people per day with an average spend of $15 per person. People really loved the Market but the Vendors were not able to make enough money, so a decision was made to suspend the weekly market for 2012.

In talking with Town Residents, Barbara and the rest of her team found out that many people were not able to make it during the week. Meanwhile, most of the Vendors really liked the Bedford Farmer's Market and wanted to try again. Based on that, they decided to to test having the Farmer's Market on a Sunday. They also decided to have it closer to the Center of Town by moving it from Depot Park to the Bedford Town Hall Parking Lot.

If the Sunday Farmer's Market is successful for the vendors, the group would entertain having it on a monthly basis.

According to the Bedford Farmer's Market, about 60% of visitors are Bedford residents, 15% from surrounding towns and 25% from further away (some of these probably work in Bedford). It will be interesting to see how The Farmer's Market does on a weekend. You lose the workers in town but probably gain a lot more local residents.

Farmer's Markets in Massachusetts tend to be organized by town. For example Lexington has a Farmer's Market on Tuesday's, Billerica on Mondays, Acton on Sunday's, etc... Many of the local markets have overlapping vendors which makes it difficult to enough visitors to get these vendors to commit to an additional market/day. Would it make sense to combine two or more towns in order to ensure success of the Market? For example, you could have a combined market for Bedford and Burlington. One idea would be to hold it in the parking lot of an office park (i.e. Network Drive) located between the two towns. This way you could attract residents from both towns plus you would also get office workers from the office park.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

FireBox BBQ Getting Full Liquor License

FireBox BBQ at 347 Great Road is getting a full liquor license. The restaurant which currently has a Beer and Wine License, is planning to add a small bar area at the back of the restaurant and will be making a few updates to it's menu.

According to the Bedford Town Website, there are currently 12 All Alcohol Licenses in use for Restaurants and Hotels in Bedford, with 2 additional available. While Bedford currently has licenses for it's 3 full liquor stores, there are 5 beer and wine licenses available for retailers. In the past few years, both Whole Foods and Bedford Express Gulf have applied for a Beer and Wine License but were voted down by the Town Selectman.

Recently many local towns have granted additional alcohol licenses for restaurants citing economic development. For example Burlington recently granted 10 additional licenses for the Third Avenue development project at Northwest Office Park and Waltham is considering adding 15 more licenses. I'm wondering if the additional .75% local meals tax added in 2010 played a role.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Mixed Use Project Proposed for 54 Loomis Street

A mixed use project is being proposed for 54 Loomis Street. Details are very preliminary but the project is expected to contain some retail. The building which was previously occupied by Pharmalucene, is about 12,000 square feet and sits on a 45,000 square foot lot close to Bedford Depot Park. The site is currently assessed at just over 580K.

This property is located in the new overlay district zoning that was created for the Bedford Depot Park area and may used for retail purposes such as a store or restaurant.

What would you like to see replace the old building?

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Riggio Sunoco Getting New Underground Fuel Tanks and Gas Pumps

Riggio Auto at 180 Great Road is in the middle of replacing their underground fuel tanks. As part of this process they are getting all new gas pumps. According to employees, the new pumps will dispense gas faster, decreasing fill up times. The work is scheduled to be completed around May 15th.
New fuel pumps are being installed by Sorco Corporation. While the station is not currently selling gas, the service bays and convenience store are still open.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Doyon's TV and Appliance Set to Open Kitchen Showroom

Doyon's TV and Appliance which opened last August at 40 Great Road is set to open a Kitchen Showroom this weekend. The showroom will be located in a second building located behind the main store.

Friday, April 13, 2012

New Restaurant Proposed for Bedford

A new restaurant, Cafe Darling has been proposed for 119 Great Road. A special user permit is required for this location. It is scheduled to go before the Zoning Board of Appeals on April 26th. Stay tuned for additional details.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

New Tenant For Blue Ribbon Plaza Coming Soon

The Well Effect is going in to Blue Ribbon Plaza at the old Cartridge World location at 186 Great Road. This appears to be a Job or Life Skills store. Stay tuned for more details.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Edge Sports Center to Add 2 Full Size Outdoor Lighted Synthetic Turf Fields

Last month The Edge Sports Center got approval to replace one of their existing indoor turf fields with a second hockey rink. The Edge has also reached an agreement with Massport to lease 7 adjacent acres of land to build 2 full size outdoor lighted turf fields. One of these fields will be enclosed during the winter months. These fields will be available for rental by local sports teams. Construction is expected to begin in May.

The Additional Lighted Fields are a welcome addition to Bedford. The question is does it now make financial sense for the town to move forward in converting Sabourin Field to a synthetic turf field. While final bids for the project are expected by March 22nd. The presentation made by Gale Associates on January 3rd, projected costs for the project at $1.087 Million.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Verizon Wireless Store Has Closed

The Verizon Wireless Store next to the Post Office in Bedford Marketplace has closed. The store was run by Zcom Wireless which had operated about 120 stores. It appears that all the Zcom wireless stores have closed including the one in Lexington. Back in December, The New York Post reported Zcom Wireless had sued Verizon for $1 Billion dollars alleging fraud. Verizon responded by filing a suit to terminate Zcom's license to sell any Verizon products. It's likely that Verizon was successful and that's why the Zcom stores have been shut down.

Monday, January 30, 2012

The Edge Sports Center Looking to Add a Second Ice Rink

According to, The Edge Sports Center at 191 Hartwell Road is looking to replace their existing soccer turf field with a second ice rink. Stay tuned for more details.

The Edge, also recently signed a Solar Power Purchase Agreement with Revolution Energy to place a 500 Kilowatt Solar system on the roof which when completed would supply a good portion of it's power requirements.

Friday, January 13, 2012

New Builders Showroom Coming to 52 Great Road

View Larger Map

Jack Bellan Custom Home Builders at 110 Great Road is opening a Builders Showroom at 52 Great Road, the former location of Tea's Art Studio. The showroom specializes in home renovation including bathroom and kitchen remodeling, architectural plans and design. Stay tuned for a more in-depth article.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Friendly's in Bedford Has Closed

Friendly's Restaurants has announced closing of 37 additional stores. This includes the Bedford location at 343 Great Road in The Great Road Shopping Center. In addition to the Bedford location, 9 other Massachusetts Locations have closed. This includes Great Barrington, Holyoke, Longmeadow, Mansfield, Springfield (2), Shrewsbury and Westborough,

As previously reported, Friendly's Filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy back in October closing 63 stores. In December, the Bankruptcy court agreed to let Sun Capital purchase the company for about $75 million. The sale was completed today and it emerged from Bankruptcy.

Unfortunately this is not a surprise. It remains to be seen if Friendly's will survive. What's interesting is Sun Capital also owns Boston Market, which closed it's Bedford location as part of it's restructuring (the location is now Asiana Bistro).

It remains to be seen if the Friendly's closing will affect the Great Road Shopping Center plans to replace the Travelodge with a new restaurant.