New stores opening on Route 9
Route 9 in Chestnut Hill has been a bustle of construction activity for nearly a year: Now some of those long-planned developments are taking shape.
Several new stores along the busy corridor are opening in the coming weeks, additional road improvements are scheduled for this spring, and Wegmans, the specialty grocery store chain, will open later this fall.
WS Development and New England Development, among the major players in the Route 9 changes, said their companies are significantly modernizing one of the region’s central shopping districts.
“I think we’re really reinvigorating the Chestnut Hill market,” said Doug Karp, executive vice president of New England Development. “This will be the 3.0 version.”
For Newton, these redevelopments will also mean more tax revenue for the city’s coffers. Together, the projects are estimated to bring in up to $2 million in additional taxes annually to the city.
New England Development is building Wegmans, part of the new Chestnut Hill Square project, on the site of the former Omni Foods Supermarkets. Several other retailers, restaurants, and medical offices are also opening in Chestnut Hill Square and a residential tower is planned in the future.
On the other side of the street, WS Development has given the old Chestnut Hill Shopping Center a face lift and a new name: The Street.
Sports Club/LA opened last week in that shopping center. City Sports, a longtime tenant, and Pottery Barn, which had been at The Atrium, have relocated and were scheduled to officially open at The Street over the weekend, said Michael McNaughton, a spokesman for WS Development.
Trendy burger joint Shake Shack, yoga clothier Lululemon, and frozen yogurt supplier Pinkberry will all open at The Street by the end of March, McNaughton said.
“Over the next three weeks we’ve got quite a bit happening,” he said.
The Showcase Super Lux Cinema featuring Davio’s Cucina, a movie theater and restaurant combination that will anchor the shopping center, will open in May, McNaughton said.
WS Development tore down the former Macy’s building for the new project.
The company has also started demolishing the old City Sports building a few hundred feet away and will be constructing a three-story office and retail building.
On the south side of Route 9, Chestnut Hill Square has been a more complex undertaking.
To fit Wegmans, along with the retailers, restaurants and medical offices on the Chestnut Hill Square site, New England Development had to make about $14 million in infrastructure improvements to the area.
The cost of the infrastructure work is being split between the developer and the state and includes widening approach roads, adding traffic lights, and installing a median break on Route 9, so westbound travelers can turn left into the shopping center.
Residents in Newton and Brookline have long been worried that Chestnut Hill Square would worsen traffic on already busy Route 9. Traffic concerns delayed approval of the project for years and New England Development eventually scaled back its plans to win support.
Much of the road work has been done at night to avoid conflicts with everyday traffic along Route 9, Karp said.
All the road work should be finished by the end of the summer, he said.
“We’re excited for this to open; it’s been a long time coming,” Karp said.