PEABODY — Your list of what’s new for Christmas should include a fancy retail shopping destination just a few minutes from this city.
MarketStreet, the upper-crust, open-air shopping center — it’s not an indoor mall — in Lynnfield has begun welcoming shoppers. Built on the site of the former Colonial Country Club, it includes 180 adjacent apartments at Arborpoint and currently has more than 40 restaurants and shops open for business, with 80 planned eventually.
And more construction is slated for the future, said Ted Tye, one of the managing partners of National Development, which built the shopping center with co-investor W. S. Development. So far, he said, “all of our retailers and restaurants tell us business is good.”
But just how many shoppers it draws — and how many of them might otherwise have spent their money at the Northshore Mall — is no small matter in Peabody, where the mall is a big contributor to the city’s revenue stream.
Northshore Mall manager Mark Whiting said he is moving proactively to meet the competition. “We equalize anything they offer,” he said.
Whiting said he makes frequent trips to MarketStreet, keeping track of which retailers are there and sizing up the competition’s presentation.
“It’s an interesting concept,” he said, “and we’ll see how it does.” But he doesn’t believe it should take business away from the local mall.
“We offer a very distinct competitive advantage,” he said, citing “a dominant roster of tenants.” Comfort is also a clear selling point — Northshore has a roof and a dry, warm environment year-round. Its roster of stores is much larger, and it offers amenities like clean restrooms in convenient spots, a play area, lots of parking and a large food court.
Whiting also points to his facility’s traditions and history — it’s been a shopping destination for generations.