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Northshore Mall reinventing itself to keep up with times

A rendering of Northshore Mall after the completion of its redevelopment in 2020.
A rendering of Northshore Mall after the completion of its redevelopment in 2020.Arrowstreet

Northshore Mall has hit several key milestones in a multiyear redevelopment the venerable Peabody shopping center is undertaking along the Route 114 side of its property.

Simon, the mall’s owner, last month announced the opening of a new entrance between Legal Sea Foods and Chipotle Mexican Grill, providing shoppers with enhanced access to stores in the center of the mall such as Ann Taylor, Banana Republic, and GAP.

The completion of the entrance comes as Tesla is expected soon to open an approximately 25,000-square-foot sales and service center in the former Sears Auto Center, while Life Time is constructing a nearby 114,000-square-foot athletic lifestyle resort. Set to open by late 2020, the resort will include such features as indoor and outdoor pools and a bistro.

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Northshore, meanwhile, is planning to construct the second phase of the Promenade, a new walkway that when finished next year will run along the outside of the mall from the Cheesecake Factory to Macy’s. The first phase, completed last year, also added a patio, space for outdoor seating, and a performance stage.

The mall also has begun constructing approximately 80,000 square feet of new retail and restaurant space — much of it reconfigured from the former Sears department store, according to Mark Whiting, the mall’s manager, who anticipates announcing some of the new tenants next spring. The old Sears store was demolished last January.

“The mall has to keep up with the constantly changing dining, shopping, and entertainment needs of our customers,” Whiting said of what led Northshore to embark on the transformation effort, which began three years ago and is expected to be largely complete by the end of 2020.

In addition to its own infrastructure improvements — the cost of which Simon has declined to disclose except to say it is in the “tens of millions” — Northshore says the revitalization encompasses new restaurants such as Amigo’s Mexican Kitchen and Hop + Grind, which opened last year.

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“The whole idea is to come up with new and compelling ways of bringing consumers to our property,” Whiting said. For example, Northshore hopes consumers who go to Life Time to work out, or to Tesla to get their vehicle serviced, also will patronize other shops and eat at a mall restaurant while they are visiting.

Opened in 1958, the 110-acre mall at the junction of Routes 114 and 128 is one of the largest shopping centers in New England, with about 1.6 million square feet. It is home to approximately 150 specialty stores and food-serving establishments.

Curt Bellavance, Peabody’s director of community and economic development, said the city has been “fully supportive of the mall and their plans,” and done whatever it could to “help them succeed.”

That has included securing state legislation in 2014 that provided the city with 10 new alcohol licenses, five of them designated for the mall.

More recently, the city earlier this year adopted an overlay zoning measure that allows residential development as another optional use at the mall. Whiting said Northshore did not seek that change but welcomed it, noting that while the mall has no current plans to build housing, it might potentially consider it in the future.

“The mall is constantly evolving and transforming itself to remain a first-class destination for its customers,” he said.


John Laidler can be reached at laidler@globe.com.

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