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East Cambridge’s CambridgeSide could host major development

Sears closure at mall likely to hasten multi-building project with housing and offices

Photo courtesy of New England Development

The pending closure this December of the 120,000-square-foot Sears at the CambridgeSide mall in East Cambridge could spawn a major mixed-use development that includes housing.

The mall’s owner, New England Development, had already been thinking big on the property’s western end. The closure of the Sears store—news of which, incidentally, broke before the retailer’s mid-October bankruptcy announcement—helps those plans along.

What are those plans? Details “are still fuzzy,” per the Globe’s Tim Logan, but New England Development is currently shopping a mix of fitness space, retail, housing, and offices to neighborhoods and neighborhood groups. New buildings as part of the project could stretch as high as 175 feet.

The mall owner does not own the building in which the doomed Sears lay, but that owner is apparently working with New England Development on the plans.

Meanwhile, the area around the mall is booming in terms of drawing life sciences and technology firms—and will soon boast a revamped Lechmere Station that is part of an extended Green Line all the way into Medford.

For now, the would-be developers are looking at months of back and forth with locals and officials, including as part of a necessary rezoning process. Stay tuned.

Downfall of Sears may boost a major development project in CambridgeSide [Globe]

11 reasons to be optimistic about Boston right now [Curbed Boston]