CambridgeSide Galleria Reno/Redev | First Street | East Cambridge

bigpicture7

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My walking routine takes my by here often (hence the photos), so I decided to see if NED posted anything more recently about the overall project/design/phasing etc. It seems they have a project website that hasn't (as far as I could see) been posted to aB previously:


A bunch of new-ish renders, particularly of First St. streetscape and Canal Park (they appear to be re-doing the park). Also, phasing info, etc.

To those just tuning in, it looks like the core of the mall will remain, but the entire perimeter will be redeveloped. I'm most interested in the residential component at 80-90 First (where the big above ground garage currently resides):
 
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HarvardP

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This is both cool and kind of sad to see.
Department stores killed dozens of specialty shops in their first wave and with suburban sprawl hammered nails into the mail order coffin too. Now e-tail, the new mail order, has killed department stores. Consumerism giveth, and consumerism taketh away.
 

bigpicture7

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Department stores killed dozens of specialty shops in their first wave and with suburban sprawl hammered nails into the mail order coffin too. Now e-tail, the new mail order, has killed department stores. Consumerism giveth, and consumerism taketh away.
I don't disagree with the general narrative, but how much of this particular case is actually due to the red hot demand for lab space? If NED had no other options, we might not have seen these spaces torn down so quickly. A less fortunate landlord may have tried to negotiate very generous leases to large retailers here, but I don't believe they even tested that market. Sears, of course, was dead; would Macy's have renewed if given a killer offer (they were pretty darn busy during holiday season 2020 before they closed). The galleria continues to surprise me, actually, and the interior refresh they just did looks pretty clean/crisp. Much of the redevelopment they're doing all around the perimeter of the mall will still have ground floor retail. To me the most interesting question will be whether BestBuy throws in the towel at this location, or whether they work with NED to relocated to a smaller space (I have no doubt a smaller space could be created for them if they really want it). That BestBuy is still pretty busy, but they have 50-75% their peak inventory level...it seems they could easily consolidate. I actually think its great to have an electronics store in the city; though I can get whatever I need within 2 days from Amazon, its still super convenient to run in there for a random cable/connector/adapter and just be done with it. We know BestBuy is getting kicked out of their current space in Phase 2 of this project, so it will be interesting to see whether they call it quits at the galleria altogether or "adapt with the times"
 

erom

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Having a few big box stores around is useful - I got a window AC unit from this best buy last year for example. You can get em on Amazon but shipping and returns are annoying for something so bulky. We won't really be in trouble until the Home Depots in Assembly and Gateway Center go. At that point I guess I'd drive out to the Lynn Wallmart?

I expect Home Depot won't give up both Mystic locations without a replacement however, those stores do crazy business.

Back on point, I think there are sufficient local replacements to make the Best Buy sticking around a nice-to-have not a need-to-have.
 

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