CambridgeSide Galleria Reno/Redev | First Street | East Cambridge

etik

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I believe each of these buildings will still need to pass design review, but good news nonetheless.
That's only planning board yes? Historically, is the ordinance or the building the tougher one to pass? I was mostly referring to the litigation following special permits granted, which I believe these buildings can still be subject to.
 

etik

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The Cambridge City Council kicked this one down the road based on some technicalities - under the terms of the site, the developers have to prove that they need the development at the proposed size to keep the mall open.

I get that they're following the terms of the agreement, but come on. Saying that you need to prove you're saving a suburban-style mall to build mixed-use urban density is about as bass ackward as it gets.
This story occurred to me after I was looking at the council vote. All councilors present voted in favor, including Dennis Carlone, who previously wrote an op-ed in opposition (in my opinion, motivated by his professional hubris as the designer of the canal district).

What changed? Well, the councillors got to look at the financials. I guess Cambridgeside wasn't bluffing and the outlook is looking as dim as they claimed. Or I'm missing something, which is possible given how convoluted these processes are.
 

Equilibria

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This story occurred to me after I was looking at the council vote. All councilors present voted in favor, including Dennis Carlone, who previously wrote an op-ed in opposition (in my opinion, motivated by his professional hubris as the designer of the canal district).

What changed? Well, the councillors got to look at the financials. I guess Cambridgeside wasn't bluffing and the outlook is looking as dim as they claimed. Or I'm missing something, which is possible given how convoluted these processes are.
That sounds like a good guess. Either that or they just wanted the pound of flesh and were ready to move on.
 

RandomWalk

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Proximity to elections has a powerful effect on Cambridge politicians.

Years ago, I was involved with public art process around Fresh Pond as part of the CWP plant rebuild. There was an approved design, which had made it through most approvals. At the last minute, a couple of neighbors caught wind and raised a stink because it was going to be too much of a draw for outsiders to “their” place. The politicians held community meetings, and ultimately changed the art because of those complaints. In private the pols said, in effect: “we like it, but we can’t support it if we want to be here next year...”
 

etik

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A Cambridgeside meeting is scheduled to take place on Dec. 16th. This might be the final one who knows.

Here [PDF] is a hilarious (in my mind) exchange from today's meeting between a NIMBY and a city councillor. The developer made the claim that they were seeking a 6% ROI and the NIMBY (who fashions himself a finance/development economics expert, though admittedly he did write a book on pricing) was concerned that was too low. Of course, if it was too high he would be concerned the city wasn't bargaining hard enough! The kicker is that he was comparing this to a Vanguard bond fund...
 

etik

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The zoning amendment passed yesterday 6-3. There will be special permits and so on for the individual buildings, but we can expect this to be going forward.

Yes: McGovern, Siddiqui, Simon, Kelley, Toomey, Mallon
No: Zondervan, Devereaux, Carlone
 

Equilibria

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The zoning amendment passed yesterday 6-3. There will be special permits and so on for the individual buildings, but we can expect this to be going forward.

Yes: McGovern, Siddiqui, Simon, Kelley, Toomey, Mallon
No: Zondervan, Devereaux, Carlone
Interesting things I noticed in the presentation from November:


1) The developer appears to be funding a new park and dock/plaza at the MDC boathouse, including reopening the building itself to the public (as a "rowing center" - maybe they'll do something like spin classes :)) The path along the canal will be much more of a visible bike alternative to O'Brien Highway than it is today, as well.

2) The slides at the end strongly imply that each of the buildings along First Street is a freestanding structure. That would mean that the mall behind would get a new facade too, but they haven't rendered it...

Anyway, great news!
 

Equilibria

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Is this thread for the whole " Cambridgeside 2.0" (including affordable residential)?
I'd be interested to hear how this is "saving the mall" financially - seems like it's replacing the mall with something NED can make more money on. Is there any plan for getting stores back into the mall that's left behind? Will the rest of that building also come down in the late 2020s? Will the only Apple Store in Cambridge move to a more visible location nearer to the train (I'm actually surprised that neither MIT's development nor Cambridge Crossing appears to be on Apple's radar for any more than office space). If the mall is really filling up with banks, then I don't see how it's worth saving.

Given that NED is the team behind the Newton Wegmans, it's worth noting that repurposing the mall proper as a grocery store wouldn't go amiss...
 

Arlington

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The goal for any collection of retailers has to be "be better than Amazon" on some measure, and you're already seeing the switch to models that still work in the age of Same Day delivery.
  • Delivery Now of unplanned need (Food, Drug, Convenience)
  • Get something physically looked at (Apple, MSFT store)...probably should have a bike shop, too.
  • Get somebody pysically looked at (Urgent Care), and why not Chiropractor/Massag
  • Exercise & Leisure (Gym & Movies)
  • Clothes that fit people's bodies & budget
  • Financial services
  • Unique franchise: Registry of Motor Vehicles
So, no Sears, no BestBuy. And, in general, contracting to only those sq ft of floorspace that do outcompete Amazon.

It is going to be more like "indoor neighborhood shopping" + "stuff things workers buy before/lunch/after work"
 

JumboBuc

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The goal for any collection of retailers has to be "be better than Amazon" on some measure, and you're already seeing the switch to models that still work in the age of Same Day delivery.
  • Delivery Now of unplanned need (Food, Drug, Convenience)
  • Get something physically looked at (Apple, MSFT store)...probably should have a bike shop, too.
  • Get somebody pysically looked at (Urgent Care), and why not Chiropractor/Massag
  • Exercise & Leisure (Gym & Movies)
  • Clothes that fit people's bodies & budget
  • Financial services
  • Unique franchise: Registry of Motor Vehicles
So, no Sears, no BestBuy. And, in general, contracting to only those sq ft of floorspace that do outcompete Amazon.

It is going to be more like "indoor neighborhood shopping" + "stuff things workers buy before/lunch/after work"
I'm with you on this, but one minor quibble: Best Buy fits much more into the "Get something physically looked at" category than most give it credit for, and the chain has been doing very well lately.
 

Equilibria

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I'm with you on this, but one minor quibble: Best Buy fits much more into the "Get something physically looked at" category than most give it credit for, and the chain has been doing very well lately.
But with smaller stores and a different layout... new Best Buy is more in his Apple/Microsoft category.

The long-term question to me is why any of those stores would want to be in the mall as opposed to in the ground floor of a multi-use building with street frontage.
 

Lrfox

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The long-term question to me is why any of those stores would want to be in the mall as opposed to in the ground floor of a multi-use building with street frontage.
Agreed. The decline of foot traffic in malls doesn't even help justify the loss-leader arguments for brick and mortar storefronts anymore. Though with Best Buy at Cambridgeside, they are on the ground floor of a soon-to-be mixed use building with street frontage (on a fairly busy urban intersection). Plus, they're a well-known brand and their services are a luxury that many people in the affluent surrounding area can afford.
 
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Equilibria

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Agreed. The decline of foot traffic in malls doesn't even help justify the loss-leader arguments for brick and mortar storefronts anymore. Though with Best Buy at Cambridgeside, they are on the ground floor of a soon-to-be mixed use building with street frontage (on a fairly busy urban intersection). Plus, they're a well-known brand and their services are a luxury that many people in the affluent surrounding area can afford.
Not to derail the thread, but I wonder about Best Buy's ability to become a brand-agnostic Apple/Microsoft store. If you have the money to throw at brand-name electronics you probably prefer the red-carpet treatment at a brand-specific store and do your research online. It's why Samsung is now opening stores as well.
 

whighlander

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The goal for any collection of retailers has to be "be better than Amazon" on some measure, and you're already seeing the switch to models that still work in the age of Same Day delivery.
  • Delivery Now of unplanned need (Food, Drug, Convenience)
  • Get something physically looked at (Apple, MSFT store)...probably should have a bike shop, too.
  • Get somebody pysically looked at (Urgent Care), and why not Chiropractor/Massag
  • Exercise & Leisure (Gym & Movies)
  • Clothes that fit people's bodies & budget
  • Financial services
  • Unique franchise: Registry of Motor Vehicles
So, no Sears, no BestBuy. And, in general, contracting to only those sq ft of floorspace that do outcompete Amazon.

It is going to be more like "indoor neighborhood shopping" + "stuff things workers buy before/lunch/after work"
Arlington -- you did a nice job summarizing the Amazon Era for retail -- you only missed one category:
Stores that offer some interesting diversions or support functions in addition to shopping such as:
  1. Jordan's Furniture with movies, the old Jordan Marsh Christmas Village, motion simulation, etc.
  2. Duluth Trading in Burlington with a room full of displays of old tools
  3. probably several others
 

erom

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Big box stores still have an advantage on things that are big/bulky and hard to ship. My last few appliance purchases were all from such places (An air conditioner from home depot, a microwave from this best buy) and they easily beat amazon on price, presumably because they didn't have to pay for the last mile delivery of such a chonky package.
 

617

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Are they getting rid of Best Buy ?
 

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