A long-delayed upgrade at the Bedford Marketplace shopping center on Great Road is finally underway, with several store facades already redone and bigger plans on tap, and town officials couldn’t be more pleased.
“The redevelopment represents major capital investment to revitalize a tired retail center,’’ said assistant town planner Catherine Perry, “and it will add value to the property, generate revenue for the town, beautify an important part of our community, reduce environmental impacts, and enhance the experience of the shopper.”
An overhaul was first broached in 2008 but fell through when the recession struck. Plans were revived in 2014 by new owner Hamlin Development LLC.
“When it was previously approved in 2008,’’ said Perry, “people were disappointed that it didn’t go ahead. It is nice to see the buildings get a face lift.”
Already, the exterior of the Whole Foods supermarket has been replaced and its nearby parking area improved; currently, the Marshalls department store facade is being replaced, and the walkway in front of the store redesigned. Bike racks will follow.
But far bigger changes are coming, and soon.
Two buildings at the front of the mall will be demolished and replaced. Demolition is tentatively scheduled for September or October, according to Chris Lansky, Bedford’s code enforcement director. The shells of replacement buildings are projected to be finished by February, with interior work following.
There will be a new landscaped island between the new front buildings, along with seating, shade trees, and a walkway.
“It is hoped that the redeveloped area will provide a more fitting companion to Bedford’s historic town center than the former ‘strip mall’ type of design,” said Perry.
Improving the traffic flow both inside and outside the shopping center is among the project’s goals, with mall entrances and exits getting a makeover along with nearby intersections.
The work will mean some reshuffling of the mall’s current tenants and space opening up to new arrivals, including a Red Heat Tavern restaurant and a Sleepy’s mattress store.
Cynthia Chen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.