October 1, 2022

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A heavyweight daily life science developer is searching at the Watertown Shopping mall for new lab room

WATERTOWN — An getting old mall in a very hot portion of Greater Boston’s exploding daily life sciences sector could before long be reconfigured as … what else? Lab space.

Heavyweight lifestyle science developer Alexandria Real Estate Equities has a offer in location to purchase the Watertown Mall, in accordance to four real estate industry executives acquainted with the deal. The sale has not closed, and as a result could however fall via, but if it goes as a result of, the deal would stand for the most recent burst in an explosion of everyday living sciences growth together Arsenal Road in Watertown’s East Finish.

Neither Alexandria nor the Watertown Mall’s longtime owner, New York-centered Rosen Associates Administration Corp., would remark on the deal. But just one man or woman familiar with it explained Alexandria is established to shell out additional than $125 million for the 18-acre website. Redevelopment designs ended up not obvious, but a serious estate broker who had researched the web site explained the mall’s retailers — like a busy Goal with a extended-time period lease — could potentially continue to be in location for some time while Alexandria builds on the adjacent parking great deal.

Steve Magoon, Watertown’s director of group development and planning, mentioned no a single had approached the city about redevelopment or notified officials of a sale.

The mall is together an Arsenal Avenue corridor that is fast emerging as a new hub of the region’s life science field and as an interesting location for advancement in typical.

Across the road, Boylston Homes is overhauling the previous Arsenal Shopping mall into a seven-creating complex with more than 1 million square toes of housing, retail, and office environment area. A nine-tale lifestyle sciences office creating recently broke ground there and will open upcoming calendar year. A couple of blocks to the west, Alexandria in 2019 expended $525 million to obtain the Arsenal on the Charles campus of athenahealth, with strategies to include approximately 300,000 square feet of office environment and lab room together with the wellness tech company’s headquarters. In January, a consortium led by Harvard College and MIT claimed it would place a $100 million biomanufacturing centre there. And to the east, on Coolidge Avenue, Alexandria and Countrywide are partnering on plans to re-do the 6-acre web-site of the outdated Mt. Auburn Tennis Club as a 5-tale lab and business office sophisticated. National is also a lover in the Watertown Mall venture.

In a phone with analysts last thirty day period, Alexandria executive chairman Joel Marcus cited Watertown as a advancement sector for his company, which has extended been a significant landlord and developer in Cambridge’s Kendall Square but has begun growing to other areas of the location. It is shut to the coronary heart of Bigger Boston’s lifestyle sciences marketplace , he claimed, and less complicated to get in and out of than some other emerging destinations these as Alewife.

“Advanced technological innovation companies, existence science providers and many others … have sought that spot as becoming, I assume, really proximate to Cambridge,” he claimed, in accordance to a call transcript. “And transportation is easier to offer with than some of the other submarkets.”

Meanwhile malls are ever more currently being redesigned and repurposed as brick-and-mortar retail struggles amid ever-expanding online level of competition.

The Woburn Shopping mall, for occasion — which is of identical dimension and classic as Watertown — is remaining redeveloped with a 350-device condominium making and a film theater along with a handful of huge-box stores. Greater regional buying centers these kinds of as CambridgeSide and the Burlington Mall are undergoing important overhauls or even — in the circumstance of the Hanover Mall — getting razed and redeveloped totally. And in December, the Worcester Planning Board permitted conversion of the Greendale Shopping mall there into a transport centre for Amazon.

The Watertown Mall, which opened in the mid-1970s, has progressed about the several years from a type of tiny brother to the larger Arsenal Shopping mall across the street, when property to regional chains Bradlees and the Strawberries songs retailer. Currently, it is anchored by a Greatest Invest in on a person stop and a single of the area’s busier Goal merchants on the other. A Registry of Motor Automobiles business office and a common dim sum cafe are amid its handful of indoor tenants.


Tim Logan can be achieved at [email protected] Stick to him on Twitter at @bytimlogan.