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    MarketStreet Lynnfield aims to be entertainment destination

    Ted Tye (left), with National Development, and WS Development official Michael McNaughton see a bright future for MarketStreet Lynnfield.
    Lisa Poole for the Boston Globe
    Ted Tye (left), with National Development, and WS Development official Michael McNaughton see a bright future for MarketStreet Lynnfield.

    Whole Foods Market will be harvesting produce from its rooftop garden as one of the major attractions of MarketStreet Lynnfield, an array of stores and restaurants that will begin opening next week.

    The area's first “destination’’ retail attraction — in the mold of Legacy Place in Dedham and Patriot Place in Foxborough — will deliver a new option for shoppers, restaurant patrons, business people, and residents looking for a lifestyle as much as a bargain.

    The project, which was launched in 2007 on the former Colonial Golf Course property next to Route 128 and then stalled along with the economy, also will provide increased revenue for a town that has relied on homeowners for its tax base.


    “It’s been a long time coming, and we’re very much looking forward to it,” said Phil Crawford, chairman of Lynnfield’s Board of Selectmen.

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    Local officials have estimated that commercial real estate taxes, the local meals tax, and other revenues will total $2.5 million to $3 million annually, said Crawford, a former vice chairman of the town’s Finance Committee. After factoring in the costs of police and fire coverage, and the anticipated costs to the school district for children who may move into the apartment buildings included as part of the project, he said, “We’re figuring the net to the town will be around $2 million, when everything is up and running.”

    Besides Whole Foods, which is scheduled to open on Wednesday, the open-air shopping center will include Pottery Barn, Williams-Sonoma, Legal C Bar, Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse, Panera Bread, and Starbucks. It also will have a Kings entertainment complex with a 16-lane bowling alley, along with residential and commercial space.

    “We think in a lot of ways, this is the best project of its type that’s been done in New England and maybe anywhere,” said Ted Tye, a founding partner at National Development, which has joined with fellow Newton-based operation WS Development to create a concept that he said is unique to the region.

    Lisa Poole for the Boston Globe
    Ted Tye, managing partner at National Development, arrives at the clubhouse.

    “People are constantly looking for new experiences and things to do,” said Michael McNaughton, a senior vice president at WS Development, during a recent walk through the property. “What this center will allow, through the addition of open spaces and a green, is the opportunity for people to visit when they just want a cup of coffee, or would like to bring their children somewhere.”


    Construction crews are putting the finishing touches on phase 1 of the two-phase project, with some retailers expected to open next week following the Whole Foods launch.

    Grand opening festivities slated for Aug 22-25 will feature activities such as magic, face painters, balloon sculptures, and other family fare. Future events at the complex include the Sept. 7 Massachusetts Run for the Fallen, a 5K road race and walk honoring American military personnel who have lost their lives in recent wars, and raising funds to assist their families.

    With 100 percent retail and restaurant occupancy for phase 1, McNaughton said, phase 2 is set to begin construction this fall.

    The first segment includes 280,000 square feet of retail, 15,000 square feet of office space, and 180 high-end apartments — three buildings plus a clubhouse — on 80 acres of the former golf course. A quarter of the apartments have been designated as affordable housing, set aside for income-eligible tenants.

    The total project calls for 395,000 square feet of retail space and 80,000 square feet of office space.


    The landscaping borrows ideas from the abutting Reedy Meadow, and includes drought-resistant plants among the sustainable building and landscaping practices employed during construction.

    Market Square is an interactive sculpture park designed for children’s play during the day that will be illuminated at night and transformed into an elegant piece of art.

    An artificial-turf common will be used for activities from youth sports to concerts to lawn chess, and the second floor of the building next door will house the Al Merritt Media and Community Center, named for a former Lynnfield selectman who died in March. The 3,500 square-foot-space, donated by the developers, will be used for public-access television and community meetings.

    Senior housing is planned alongside the apartment buildings overlooking the meadow near the town-run King Rail Reserve Golf Course, which is scheduled to be redesigned and reopened as a nine-hole course next year. As part of the original arrangement with the town, the developers donated 7 acres to Lynnfield, which sold the land to the nonprofit Lynnfield Initiatives for Elders to build 48 apartments for those 60-and-over.

    Crawford doesn’t anticipate that the development will undercut existing businesses in Lynnfield. With the exception of some small strip malls and a portion of Route 1, there is little commercial enterprise in town, he noted.

    “This is by far the biggest thing to happen in Lynnfield, development-wise,” he said.

    David Rattigan can be reached at

    Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated which stores will be opening at the shopping center.