Looking Back

In Closed Deals on January 17, 2011 at 5:30 pm

In late 2007, when my team first started kicking around the idea of doing some retail leasing, it was all about the 25,000 sf of vacant retail at the Watermark building (350 Third Street, Cambridge, MA) – this was our only project and our day one purpose. In early 2008 we started marketing the Watermark retail and shortly thereafter took on some other projects in Kendall Square.  In 2009 we closed our first wave of deals and started to realize we were onto something.  In 2010 we officially launched CityRetail and it was a year full of experiments: our first completed deal outside of Kendall Sq, our first project working on the tenant-side and the addition of a handful of new landlord clients.

Today, CityRetail’s reach extends beyond the Watermark (21,400 sf leased; remaining 3,600 under agreement) but our approach has been shaped by our past experiences.  When we got started three years ago it was a grind and there were no shortcuts – it took a lot of work and diligence to get top chefs and small business owners to (i) come visit us in Kendall Square and (ii) take our vision seriously. In retrospect, I think 2008 was about educating and exploring – both ourselves and our tenant prospects.  How could we recruit a restaurant without understanding the economics of the business, the challenges of building a kitchen and the players in the scene? How could we recruit that restaurant to Kendall Square without understanding and being able to articulate the opportunity, the challenges and the local players in neighborhood?  Well, we couldn’t; and we didn’t. Over the past couple of years though we’ve learned a lot about the neighborhood and about restaurants, dry cleaners, gyms, yoga studios, grocery stores and day care centers… We’ve got a ways to go but we’ve become smart.  Smart enough to know that this is still hard work and that we are only as good as our last project.  Accordingly, here are CityRetail’s last four closed projects from Q4 2010, which rounded out a great year:  (read more…)

  • Evoo Restaurant has leased an additional 1,000 sf of space to be used for additional seating and for private events.  Evoo shares a 6,300 SF space with sister restaurant Za in the Watermark building.  Evoo & Za’s 2010 success in Kendall Square has helped spur the wave of new restaurants coming to the area in 2011.  The restaurant just received notice of being one of the nation’s first (and certainly the Boston area’s first) LEED Gold Certified restaurants (LEED is a third-party certification program and an internationally accepted benchmark for design, construction and operation of green buildings). See:;
  • Bosse City Club, a luxury health club facility operated by DJ Bosse of Bosse Sports in Sudbury, MA has signed a lease for 15,000 sf on the second floor of the Watermark Building at 350 Third Street.  DJ’s team will take over and expand an 8,000 sf facility once operated by another health club company.  Bosse City Club will be a tremendous addition to Kendall Square.  See:;
  • Gary Strack, chef/owner of Central Kitchen and Enormous Room in Central Square, will be opening Firebrand Saints, a restaurant at One Broadway in Kendall Square in Spring 2011.  CityRetail, working on MIT’s behalf, identified Gary and his team in 2009 as primary target for an approx 3,000 sf space across the street from MIT’s newly constructed Sloan School of Management building.  The space was previously an Enterprise Rent-A-Car office and will bring needed vibrancy to the building and neighborhood.  See:
  • Michael Leviton, chef/owner of Lumiere in Newton, MA, will bring a pizza and small plates restaurant (all out of a wood burning oven!) with attached cafe to 500 Technology Square.  Michael’s team will transform a 5,000 sf space that was previously half vacant and half home to the defunct La Molisana Restaurante.  CityRetail could not be happier about this use for Tech Square and this addition to Kendall Square. See:;

More to come in 2011.  Please come back soon for updates or subscribe to receive new posts via email through CityRetail’s wordpress site. Happy new year!

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