Assembly Row (Assembly Sq Redevelopment) | Assembly Square | Somerville

Equilibria

Senior Member
Joined
May 6, 2007
Messages
3,829
Reaction score
61
Even if it is a single structure, I think it's very, very unlikely that the integrity of the full length of the building depends on whether the KMart end remains in place.
 

tangent

Senior Member
Joined
May 11, 2012
Messages
1,717
Reaction score
15
Say it is part of the original structure, how difficult would it be to take out the K Mart, expose the skeleton of the building and maybe put in a pedestrian section of Canal st. You could put smaller units each side of the new street and leave it covered or partially covered.
This way you have a nice feature breaking up a boring block, you expose more of Assembly's history, you have a pedestrian link to the new hotel at assembly edge or what ever it's called, and you have a covered public space where you could hold farmers markets or whatever year round.
If it became popular it might speed up the development of the parking lots and create a proper finished canal street.
I very much like the idea. It seems like a very natural next step redevelopment wise. Just raze K-Mart and extend the Assembly Row city block type development through where KMart used to be. And I like the pedestrian extension of Canal St straight through to connect it all together more seamlessly from a walkability perspective (don't have to call it Canal S if it is pedestrian only, but I get the idea) .

Just need to do a bit of math and make the investment work. But they have a pretty good idea of what they can do there. And they should have the now bootstrapped cash (or credibility with investors) to provide the capital make it continue to happen.
 

Equilibria

Senior Member
Joined
May 6, 2007
Messages
3,829
Reaction score
61

Arlington

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 10, 2011
Messages
3,740
Reaction score
16
Nice find - how did this news end up in Yahoo Finance?
? That the NYSE-traded FRT fed it to PRNewswire presumably means it goes at least everywhere that public-company news goes.

And the key paragraph is the one that says, in effect, now that we control it, we're going to work to go dense/tall:
"The ability to control this roughly 100,000 square foot building and 6-acre parcel provides Federal with additional future opportunity to leverage its investment in the Assembly neighborhood and associated infrastructure, parks and public improvements," said Patrick McMahon, Senior Vice President – Regional Development. "We look forward to working with the City of Somerville and our neighbors to determine how the neighborhood evolves to best serve residents, visitors and office workers."
 

sm89

Active Member
Joined
Apr 29, 2014
Messages
848
Reaction score
2
Even if it is a single structure, I think it's very, very unlikely that the integrity of the full length of the building depends on whether the KMart end remains in place.
I mean, they did remove a huge part of the building along Middlesex Ave to build all the loading docks. Slicing off the Kmart end looks simple compared to that.
 

Equilibria

Senior Member
Joined
May 6, 2007
Messages
3,829
Reaction score
61
At the NAIOP "Somerville Surge" event this morning, the panelist from FRIT let it slip in Q&A that they're going into design within weeks on "a 200K square foot office building". That could be one of their patented half-block projects on Block 7B or the full Block 9 adjacent to the XMBLY apartment building.

He mentioned the KMart parcel alongside those two future development sites, but offered no specific intentions, likely because they don't know what they'll do.

Interestingly, he referred to KMart as though it was the only part of the marketplace that FRIT owns (it's the only part that FRIT controls). He did note, though, that FRIT has built half of what they were permitted for, with the clear implication that they intend to build the rest.
 

Arlington

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 10, 2011
Messages
3,740
Reaction score
16
How long has FRIT owned the Assembly mall building? Can we assume that all the current tenants (Xmas tree, Trader Joes) have shorter or more breakable leases than KMart did (as an old-school mall-anchor tenant?) In a phased redo of the mall, I could easily see FRIT+Somerville agreeing on some kind of phased redo that replaces KMart in 2022 but not the rest until TJ's lease is up.
 

JumboBuc

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 26, 2013
Messages
1,977
Reaction score
18
How long has FRIT owned the Assembly mall building? Can we assume that all the current tenants (Xmas tree, Trader Joes) have shorter or more breakable leases than KMart did (as an old-school mall-anchor tenant?) In a phased redo of the mall, I could easily see FRIT+Somerville agreeing on some kind of phased redo that replaces KMart in 2022 but not the rest until TJ's lease is up.
They've owned the mall since 2005.

Just as a general statement, big box retail leases can last for a long time, so just because Federal owns the building doesn't mean they're free to do what they want with it. I recall that when Sports Authority went under FRIT aggressively moved to buy out the remainder of their lease, and it looks like they did the same with KMart.

Redeveloping the KMart space first makes so much sense for so many reasons. It's the biggest parcel of the big boxes, it's at the end of the row, and it's right in the middle of the site at large. Redeveloping that will have a bigger impact on the Assembly area than replacing any of the other big boxes would. Also, KMart was the worst tenant. I'm sure, for example, that FRIT sees having TJ's there as a huge plus for the development; no way they felt the same about KMart.

Given the amount of space FRIT still has to run at Assembly and the opportunity cost of shutting down a big successful retailer, I'd be shocked if the rest of the big box row gets redeveloped in the next decade.
 
Last edited:

Equilibria

Senior Member
Joined
May 6, 2007
Messages
3,829
Reaction score
61
How long has FRIT owned the Assembly mall building? Can we assume that all the current tenants (Xmas tree, Trader Joes) have shorter or more breakable leases than KMart did (as an old-school mall-anchor tenant?) In a phased redo of the mall, I could easily see FRIT+Somerville agreeing on some kind of phased redo that replaces KMart in 2022 but not the rest until TJ's lease is up.
3/3/2005, according to the assessor.

At the rate FRIT builds on these blocks (about one every 3-4 years), we're not talking about development on the KMart site until the mid 2020s, when they're done with Blocks 7 and 9. Then another 4-6 years for the two blocks within the KMart outline. By 2028 or 2029, it might be possible to build new space for the current tenants in new buildings - perhaps on the KMart parcels - to clear them out of the rest of the Marketplace. Works better for Trader Joe's than for Bed Bath & Beyond, but stores could stack one above another. I wonder if FRIT will tear down the KMart building now, or if they'll try to find short term rentals (10 years is short term)?

Staples and Bed Bath are on life support anyway, so it's probably not worth worrying about them in that time frame. Christmas Tree Shops will probably still exist and only do big box, so they'd be forced out. TJ's and XFinity can be relocated within Assembly. Burlington hasn't been there very long and might also be relocatable. TJ Maxx has an urban format store on Newbury St, so it's not impossible that they could accept a differently-arranged space.
 
Last edited:

Top