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Neiman Marcus store in Natick could be converted to lab space

The developer that remade the Atrium Mall has bought the space now occupied by the high-end retailer.

The Neiman Marcus store in Natick will close next year to make way for redevelopment of the space.Bulfinch Companies

After successfully remaking the Atrium Mall in Chestnut Hill as a fitness and medical complex, developer Bulfinch Companies has set its sights on converting another higher-end retail site: the Neiman Marcus store in Natick.

A Bulfinch affiliate has teamed up with Chicago investment firm Harrison Street to acquire the department store space at 310 Speen St., at the Natick Mall, in a deal brokered by Scott Black of Atlantic Retail. The developers will not say what they plan to do with the property, which features 18-foot ceiling heights and 450 parking spaces, other than to reposition it “to meet current market demands.” Translation: There’s a good possibility it gets switched to a life science use such as labs. Among other changes, Bulfinch is eyeing the possibility of a vertical addition.

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The two-floor, 94,000-square-foot store had originally been slated to close this year. With this deal in place, Neiman Marcus will continue to operate the store through September 2022. Brookfield Properties owns the mall, considered the largest indoor shopping center in New England, but not the building that Neiman Marcus occupies.

Boston-based Bulfinch has partnered with Harrison Street on several other property acquisitions and developments over the years. They include the Atrium Mall project, known as the Life Time Center for the past four years or so since its repositioning. That property is anchored by the Life Time fitness chain, the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and Newton-Wellesley Hospital. The Neiman Marcus deal is also closing around the same time as Bulfinch’s acquisition of the Muzi Motors property, which will be home to another retail conversion, off Route 128 in Needham.


Jon Chesto can be reached at jon.chesto@globe.com. Follow him @jonchesto.