May 13 2018

Big Changes Proposed for Former Sears Location at Burlington Mall

By: Rich Hosford

There could be some big changes coming to the Burlington Mall.

 

Recently representatives of Simon Property Group, the company that owns the mall, were at the Planning Board meeting to discuss a proposed project for the former Sears and Sears Automotive sites. Those properties, once owned independently by Sears, were acquired by Simon Properties and they are now looking into ways to redevelop them to better fit the modern mall market.

 

Attorney Mark Vaughan of Riemer & Braunstein, representing Simon Properties, said the biggest change will happen on the first floor of the Sears building. Rather than keeping it as a large, single-use retail location, the plan calls for expanding the mall corridor into the existing space and creating numerous small retail and restaurant locations.   

 

Simon Properties is also looking to demolish to Auto Center and create a 35,000 square foot building for small retail and restaurant locations. They will also build pedestrian-friendly connections between the two buildings and make improvements to landscaping and greenspace. One part of the plan calls for the creation of a “pocket park” where the Sears garden center was located.

 

In paperwork filed by the town, Vaughan wrote that Simon is looking to create a “mixed-use ‘lifestyle’ center providing enhanced visual and shopping variety to its future patrons.

 

Other planned improvements include creating safe pedestrian ways to connect to a new, covered, bus stop on Mall Road and another bus stop on the mall property. They also plan for a pedestrian walkway from the mall to The District for customers looking to patron both locations.

 

Members of the Planning Board were receptive to the proposed plans, though they noted many details will need to be worked out in the months ahead, both at board meetings and with a subcommittee.

 

Planning Board Member Paul Raymond said he was happy that Simon Property Group was planning to invest this heavily in the mall and that he thought by being proactive to changes in the market the project will be successful.

 

“ I think it’s encouraging that you plan to invest all of this in the mall, it shows you believe it will continue to be a success,” he said. “To see you not drawing back as some areas are but really going forward is very encouraging. I spend a lot of time down there and I’m very happy that you continue to invest in Burlington.”

 

When asked about the timeline for the project, Vaughan said that if all goes to plan they hope to demolish the auto center building in July and begin construction in the early fall.


 

 
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