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Mass. developer buys Cranston’s Garden City Center for $181 million

(Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
(Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)Kevork Djansezian

CRANSTON – A Massachusetts developer has purchased Garden City Center, the 530,000-square foot outdoor shopping center in Cranston that houses stores like L.L. Bean, Lululemon and Whole Foods.

WS Development, a private company that bills itself as one of the largest retail-led mixed use development firms in the country, paid $181 million, according to city tax records.

“Garden City Center is a beloved and powerful hub with a long history of success,” Jeremy Sclar, president of WS Development, said in a prepared statement. “We believe that our experience creating retail gravity in similar markets will allow us to take something great and make it even better. We are looking forward to working with the existing tenants and community toward this goal.”

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Gatewide Woodside, a California-based company, bought Garden City in 1998 for $73 million, according to Cranston tax records. The Wilder Companies has managed the property for more than a decade.

WS Development owns more than 90 properties around the country, including a mixed-use development in Boston’s Seaport District, Legacy Place in Dedham and the Royal Poinciana Plaza in Palm Beach, Florida.

It’s unclear when the transaction for Garden City was completed, but WS Development created Garden City Owner, LLC. on Dec. 13, according to a business filing with the secretary of state’s office.

The transaction was coordinated by commercial real estate firm Newmark Knight Frank.

Garden City opened in 1948, and in recent years has established itself a competitor to the Providence Place mall as the state’s premier shopping center.


Dan McGowan can be reached at dan.mcgowan@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter at @danmcgowan.