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Archive for the ‘Kendall Square’ Category

Quick update & some press

In Kendall Square on June 17, 2011 at 3:14 pm

I know it has been ages since last post but I assure you CityRetail is still alive and kicking. We’ve been working on a new cityretail.com that I’m hoping to bring live next week. It will be easier for you to read and easier for us to manage and update.

Generally, It’s been a great spring for CityRetail. Area Four opened three weeks ago and has been a big hit.  I’m super proud of CityRetail’s work on this deal and think the concept, food and team is so solid. Chef Gary Strack’s Firebrand Saints will open mid-Summer and as with Area Four, I think folks will be treated to something fresh, exciting and super tasty.  Also just opening is another one of CityRetail’s big projects from 2010, Bosse City Club (Health Club and Spa), which, like Area Four and Firebrand, is a highly entrepreneurial and innovative retail offering that matches the vibe here in Kendall. Oh, and then there’s Kendall’s very own 110 tap beer joint: Meadhall, which also opened last month…

I’ve got lots more to share and will do so with more regular posts as soon as the new site is up. For now though, here are a handful of links and press about some of our recent projects and neighborhood happenings:

Cambridge’s Hottest New Neighborhood for Foodies, Area 4” (WCVB TV Boston 5, ABC)

BioTech a la carte” (The Boston Globe)

Kendall Square: The Boston Area’s Next Restaurant Row?” (Blog)

Can you call it a gym if it features concierge service, a eucalyptus steam room and zen garden?” (The Boston Globe)

Luxury Fitness Center Expanding into Kendall Square” (Cambridge Chronicle)

Hip To Be Square” (Stuff Magazine)

Welcome, Neighbor.

In Kendall Square on November 2, 2010 at 9:58 pm

Voltage Coffee and Art opens tomorrow at 295 Third Street. This is a huge development in my world for two reasons (i) we’ll finally have a proper cafe serving a full range of top-notch coffee & espresso products in the heart of Kendall (no offense to Beantowne Coffeehouse, which though excellent, is a bit too far out of the heart of Kendall for most of us) and (ii) it marks the opening of the first bit of retail on the “other side” of Third Street – other side relative to existing retail, the Charles River and most of the activity/development to date.

CityRetail and Twining Properties have been really interested in the “other side” of Third Street for years. We believe that Third Street between Broadway and Binney has the potential to be a great pedestrian and retail corridor. On this corridor sit approximately 1,000 residential apartments – 321 at the Watermark, 480 at Third Square, 189 at Archstone Kendall – coupled with tremendous office density – Genzyme, Vertex Pharma, Alnylam Pharma, Cambridge Innovation Center, British Consulate, etc. Further, Third Street will serve as the gateway from MIT and the MBTA Redline to Alexandria Real Estate Equites’ (NYSE: ARE) recently approved 11 acre, 1.7 million sf life science complex, which will consist primarily of office/lab space with some retail and residential.

In addition to the above, there is now precedent for thriving retail on Third Street – Evoo and Za (restaurants) are doing great and Clevergreen (dry cleaner) is ahead of projections as well. The opportunity here is hard to ignore. (read more) Read the rest of this entry »

Recycling Blogs

In Kendall Square on June 7, 2010 at 11:42 pm

I’m going to start reposting or linking to, with comments, a handful of my first 40 blog posts.  I’m doing this for several reasons: (i) I have a lot more readers of the blog now who I know have not read early posts; (ii) I have some updates and further thoughts in connection with almost every previous blog entry; (iii) now that this website is live (www.cityretail.com) I’ve been wanting to transfer all old posts from wordpress site but it’s a bit more complicated and time-consuming than I originally thought; and (iv) I’ve been having a hard time getting back into the groove of posting 2 or 3 blogs a week and revisiting some old posts at this point is a nice writer’s shortcut.

One of my favorite early posts is “The South End vs. Kendall Square: some thoughts.” In this post from Jan 13, 2010 I highlight the closing of Lambert’s Marketplace in the South End neighborhood of Boston to play-up Kendall Square’s relative neighborhood advantages. (read more after picture…)

Read the rest of this entry »

savethechildren.org

In Kendall Square, Retail Thoughts on May 16, 2010 at 9:55 pm

Apparently word has gotten out to street canvassers that Kendall is hot. The number of the people pitching causes/initiatives for Save the Children, MassPIRG, ACLU, etc. in Kendall is definitely on the rise and it’s pretty exciting.  The fact that these folks find the foot-traffic heavy enough to justify such activities is a great sign.

Like it or not, street canvassing (for money and/or signatures) is a reality in busy urban places.  In fact, I’d be willing to bet there is a direct connection between the number of canvassers and price per square of retail space. This would be a fun study.  For now though, I’m happy to see the canvassers in Kendall Square (I haven’t seen Greenpeace though – when they come it will really mean the neighborhood has arrived).  Maybe I’ll start adding incidents of canvassing to our CityRetail marketing reports…

Commitment

In General, Kendall Square, Retail Thoughts on May 10, 2010 at 6:19 am

Last week I went to the City of Cambridge Planning Board meeting to give testimony re: Twining Properties’ commitment to retail in Kendall Square. I was asked to speak by the East Cambridge Planning Team, a community organization that is extremely active in East Cambridge. They are an impressive group and have been tremendous advocates for preserving and spurring neighborhood and community assets in light of significant real estate development (office and lab) in East Cambridge. The group’s most recent effort was opposing Equity Office’s attempts to seek approval from the City to use first floor retail space for office use in one of its building at Canal Park, which is located at the intersection of First Street and Cambridge Street in Cambridge, MA.

It was a bit awkward for me to give testimony in a matter (I didn’t support or oppose Equity’s petition) that pits a real estate developer/landlord and a community group. Equity’s position was that they made a good faith and extraordinary effort to lease the space and that it would go vacant indefinitely unless the City allowed an office use. I didn’t say it but I wholly disagree with the landlord’s position. Regardless, it’s a complicated issue and I think both sides had reasonable arguments… (read more) Read the rest of this entry »

Kendall Lunch Crowd 04/12/10

In General, Kendall Square on April 12, 2010 at 10:17 pm

Here are a few pics (click to enlarge) I took today in Kendall at lunch time.  It was a pretty nice spring day – high 50’s, slightly overcast.

"food court"

Sebastian's

food trucks

Solid crowds. Long lines.  Typical.

A main street

In Kendall Square, Retail Thoughts on April 1, 2010 at 9:58 pm

“Main Street” is typically exactly that, at least in New England towns and cities. I walk Main Street in Cambridge a lot, especially now that we are working on an assignment in Technology Square. On a recent walk from Kendall to Central Square it struck me just how amazing, unique and Cambridgesque Main Street is. Starting at the Charles River in Kendall and heading towards Central here are just a few highlights of the one mile traverse:

  • Microsoft’s N.E.R.D. Center;
  • The new MIT Sloan School of Management building;
  • Cambridge Center, home to Google, Akamai and the Broad Institute, to name a few;
  • Legal Sea Foods – Kendall Sq, one of the first locations for the restaurant group and closest to the original fish market;
  • MIT’s new Center for Cancer Research building;
  • Cambridge Brands, the candy manufacturing plant where Sugar Daddy, Junior Mints and Tootsie Rolls are made; and
  • Craigie on Main, a nationally acclaimed bistro.

A one mile street (actually, it’s closer to 1.1 miles) that is home to some of the most innovative business on earth, MIT, a candy factory, one of the best chain restaurants in the country and also one of the best independently owned bistros…  I wonder if there is any other “Main Street” on earth that is as diverse, exciting and interesting as Main Street in Cambridge.

500 Tech Square. 2577 sf.

In Kendall Square on March 15, 2010 at 7:12 pm

Last week CityRetail officially started a new assignment for Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc. at Technology Square in Kendall.  This project is unique from all of our other leasing assignments to date in that the space is already built out as a restaurant.  The next tenant needs to make the space its own, no doubt, but to have electrical, kitchen exhaust, HVAC, bathrooms, equipment, etc. already in the Premises makes for a very attractive opportunity.  The space is an end-cap in a small strip of retail that overlooks Main Street and the green public space between the 500 and 300 Technology Square buildings.  All equipment remains from the prior operator, the Premises has outdoor seating and the windows/frontage is great.  2,577 square feet:

Evoo & Za, finally.

In Closed Deals, Kendall Square, Restaurant News on March 4, 2010 at 9:58 pm

When I joined Twining Properties two years ago I had one primary assignment: bring life, energy and value to the ground floor, front-corner retail space in the Watermark.  The task of bringing a full-service, locally owned, responsible and acclaimed restaurant to the Watermark occupied a lot of my time through 2008 and 2009.  It was a challenging assignment in a misunderstood neighborhood during an extremely difficult economic period.  Our team toured dozens of the areas top restauranteurs, signed a lease and subsequently lost the deal in late 2008 due to a financing contingency (not a unique story for Fall 2008) and  went back to the market in 2009 determined to find the best possible operator.  Enter: Evoo & Za.

Closing the Evoo & Za deal was a true team effort.  From our main office in New York City to our financial partner in Des Moines, all parties put in the time and imagination to make this work.  Crafting the deal here in Cambridge for Twining Properties was David Downing, Brian Dacey and myself, with some crucial assistance from restaurant guru and now CityRetail collaborator, Michael Staub.

Now, on the eve of Evoo & Za opening at the Watermark, all is good.  We have one of the areas top chefs, Peter McCarthy, operating one of the most acclaimed neighborhood restaurants in metro Boston, Evoo, with another McCarthy restaurant next door, Za.  Peter owns and operates the restaurants with his wife, Colleen, and business partner, Steve Kurland (Evoo was previously located on Beacon Street in Somerville; Za has another location in Arlington, on Mass Ave.).  CityRetail believes that the best restaurants have the best operators – Evoo/Za is no exception. I’ll stop gushing now and just share some recent pics. I suspect the next round of pictures will be of a very crowded restaurant… (read more to view pictures) Read the rest of this entry »

Pine Village Preschool to Kendall

In Closed Deals, Kendall Square on February 26, 2010 at 11:10 am

[t] CityRetail thinks about retail leasing as it relates to the larger dynamic of Kendall Square. Upon jumping into the business of retail leasing in 2008, one of our first moves was to work with Gezyme and survey its employees – we needed to understand the perspective of folks working in the neighborhood. The results of the survey helped guide our search for neighborhood amenities.  The number one item on the list was child-care and our search for a provider began immediately. We spoke to locals and nationals, we had some early hits, negotiated a couple deals and we worked with the City to understand the relevant licensing and zoning issues. In addition, we reached out to other local brokers. It’s been a work in progress. At first, more work than progress.  While we’ve closed deals for a fitness center, restaurants, dry cleaner, and cafe, all on the top of the Genzyme’s list of needs, a child-care deal has eluded us, until now.

Two days ago a lease was fully executed for a preschool in Kendall.  Location will be on the first floor of 675 West Kendall Street (Vertex & Momenta Pharm home), steps away from the Genzyme Center. Pine Village Preschool is coming to Kendall!

CityRetail worked hard on this deal with Landmark Real Estate Advisors.  Of the 7 deals we have closed of late, this is the first deal in which we’ve worked with cooperating broker and it has been a pleasure.  Eric Solem and his team at Landmark are true professionals and share many of our core ideologies about deal momentum, deal making and deal closing.  Thank you Eric.  Thank you BioMed.  Thank you Pine Village Preschool.  Oh, and thanks for the tip, Genzyme.