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Lynnfield

Development set to open in August as owners eye cinema

A mixed-use development on the former Colonial Golf Course in Lynnfield is set to open this summer even as the owners propose to add a movie theater to the project’s second phase.

MarketStreet Lynnfield’s  first phase is scheduled for completion in August, according to Ted Tye, managing partner of National Development, which is building the project jointly with WS Development

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The companies recently announced the names of many of the restaurants and stores that will be leasing space in the town-center-style development. Most are expected to open in late August.

“We have a terrific mix of tenants,” Tye said, with Whole Foods Market serving as the project’s anchor.

The developers are seeking Town Meeting approval in April of a zoning change to accommodate an eight-screen cinema in the second phase. The change would also mean adding 45,000 square feet to the allowable retail portion of the project.

Although the zoning plan approved by the town in 2007 excluded the use, Tye said, the development team has concluded that a movie theater would enhance the overall project.

“In good town centers in Massachusetts historically, there were things to do, and a cinema was often at the center of it,” he said, and noted that a theater is still a vital asset for retail areas looking to attract customers amid the growth of online shopping.

“We want people to come out and be able to spend the day here,’’ he said, and going to a movie “is part of that whole experience.”

Tye added, though, that the developers would ensure the theater is “appropriately scaled to the market.”

“This is not a megaplex. It’s less than half the size of most theaters,” he said.

Town Administrator William J. Gustus said the theater proposal is getting a mixed reception, with the majority voicing support.

“I see some benefit to it,” he said. “It’s part of an overall mix of a successful retail development. If you look at a Legacy Place in Dedham, the cinema is a key component of that development, which has been wildly successful. The restaurants feed off the cinema, and vice versa.”

Gustus said townspeople are pleased to see the overall project, first proposed six years ago, approaching fruition.

“There are a lot of very nice tenants going in there, a number of high-end restaurants and retailers, and I think people in general are excited about the possibility of being able to go down there,” he said.

As currently zoned, the development calls for 395,000 square feet of retail space, 80,000 square feet of office space, and 180 luxury apartments — with 25 percent of them to be affordable — on 80 acres. The first phase includes 300,000 square feet of the retail total, 10,000 square feet of office space, and all of the apartments.

Tye said the first of the three apartment buildings and the office space will be ready for occupancy in September, and the other two apartment buildings soon after.

He said the retail space is about 90 percent  leased, with Whole Foods Market to occupy 50,000 square feet. 

The restaurant lineup includes Legal Seafoods’ Legal C Bar; Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse; Yard House; Besito (Mexican cuisine); and FuGaKyu (Japanese cuisine). The Market Square, which features seating and a park, will be home to Starbucks, Five Guys Burgers and Fries, Panera Bread, Otto Pizza, Boloco burritos, and Teavana tea shop. Also on the list are J.P. Licks ice cream, Pinkberry frozen yogurt, and Poka Dog Bakery (a shop for dogs).

A Kings bowling and entertainment establishment, and a Make Meaning creativity center are also among the first-phase tenants, as are MiniLuxe day spa, Roosters men’s hair shop, and a number of clothing stores, including American Eagle, J. Jill, LOFT, lululemon, Hot Mama, and Shoe Market.

“It’s an upscale mix,” Tye said. “We are looking for unique tenants because we want this to be special.”

As part of an agreement with the town, the developers deeded 7 acres to Lynnfield that will be sold to a nonprofit to build 48 homeownership units for people age 60 and over. The group expects to begin construction in August or September, according to Gustus.

The developers also donated 103 acres for a nine-hole municipal golf course and a conservation area. The course is expected to open next year.

The developers are also providing space in one of the project’s retail/office buildings for a community center.

The Colonial Golf Course and the Sheraton Colonial Hotel, in Wakefield, were purchased in 2006 in a joint venture by National Development, and a separate firm that took over management of the hotel.

National Development in 2008 undertook an initial phase of site work, but put the project on hold in early 2009 due to the down economy.

In 2011, National Development and WS Development, with whom it had forged a partnership, spun off the hotel into separate ownership.

The development when fully built is expected to generate $1.75 million in added annual tax revenue for Lynnfield, and create about 1,000 permanent jobs.

John Laidler can be reached atlaidler@globe.com.
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