Woburn Mall to Get a New Look
Nov 02, 2018 06:43AM
● By Dan Marra
WOBURN – Residents will start to notice some changes at the Woburn Mall over the next couple of months. With the sale of the Woburn Mall last year to EDENS – a national real estate developer – the mall is expected to undergo significant changes.
The subtlest change will be the name. The mall will be rebranded as the Woburn Village. And with the exception of what can be considered legacy stores – TJ Maxx, Market Basket, DSW and Homesense – most of the other properties on the current Woburn Mall site will be leaving the location.
“We don’t believe the existing mall configuration can be saved,” said Brad Dumont, managing director for EDENS. “We know this is a sensitive issue for the tenants and while no construction project progresses very quickly, most of the businesses aren’t likely to wait until the new building is open.”
The City Council and Planning Board still need to approve the zoning changes on the mall site, which would allow for mixed using zoning, including potentially a 425-unit complex. According to Tina Cassidy, director of the Woburn Planning Board, the necessary approvals should arrive over the next few months, allowing EDENS to begin site planning in the spring.
According to Dumont, a number of the existing businesses will be leaving the mall location over the next few months as EDENS has allowed the business owners early releases from their leases in order to find alternative locations.
“We’ve had discussions with a couple of businesses about potential opportunities with the new project, but right now there’s a lot of moving pieces,” Dumont said. “Asking a business to shut down and wait doesn’t work for most of them.”
When construction does begin, Dumont expects only Market Basket to remain open during the project mainly because the New England supermarket will be staying in its same location. The rest of the businesses will most likely need to shut down while construction is under way.
When the project is complete, Cassidy and Dumont expect the current Woburn Mall to look like an outdoor shopping center, similar to MarketStreet in Lynnfield and Assembly Row in Somerville.
Besides becoming what’s known as an urban village, EDENS has partnered up with Avalon Bay to create a 400-unit housing complex. According to Dumont, 25 percent of the units in the complex will be considered affordable, and 70 percent of the units will be provided to residents who are local – Woburn residents, municipal employees, and business owners.
According to Dumont, this will put Woburn above the state-mandated 10 percent number for affordable units in a community. He also said that Woburn will be getting an additional $1.6 million from the state for its affordable units.
While the project is still at least six months away from beginning, both Dumont and Cassidy believe this will be a better utilization of the site and make Woburn more competitive with its neighbors.
“We’re really looking at making this a gathering place for Woburn,” Dumont said. “A lot of residents in Woburn and the surrounding towns go to Burlington or Lynnfield or Assembly Row for their entertainment and shopping purposes. We want to provide those services in Woburn.”