Alexandria unveils plans for lab, office space at Watertown Mall site

Alexandria unveils plans for lab, office space at Watertown Mall site

Alexandria unveils plans for lab, office space at Watertown Mall site


by Greg Ryan| via

Alexandria Real Estate Equities Inc. plans to construct three buildings with a mix of lab and office space at the Watertown Mall, according to a recently unveiled proposed master plan for the property.

The proposal includes 500,000 square feet of lab and office space at the mall site, along with two parking garages with a combined total of 540 new spaces and two “amenity” buildings, according to the recent presentation on the master plan. Alexandria plans to keep the popular Target store and other retailers at the mall site.

The California-based life sciences development giant (NYSE: ARE) bought the mall property at 550 Arsenal St. in Watertown last year for $130 million. Alexandria sees Watertown as an appealing location for lab space just outside of Cambridge. It is redeveloping the one-time athenahealth campus in the city, which it rechristened Arsenal on the Charles, to include life sciences space. The mall is just down the road from Arsenal on the Charles, and Alexandria leadership said last year it sees the potential for a “mega campus.”

Alexandria has 1.4 million square feet of rentable square footage in Watertown, out of 12 million in Greater Boston overall, according to the presentation. More than two-fifths of that space is in Cambridge.

The plan preliminarily breaks down construction into three phases. The first phase, all on the land now occupied by the mall, would consist of an office and lab building just off Arsenal Street, a parking garage next to the Target, an amenity building and a retail building.

The second phase would consist of another office and lab building and two more amenity spaces, on a site adjacent to the mall that is now home to Enanta Pharmaceuticals Inc. In a third phase, the remaining building would go up at the current location of an AutoZone Auto Parts. The second parking garage would also be part of the third phase.

The plan calls for quadruple the amount of open space at the site as part of the development, including more trees.

The presentation said the exact program for the amenity buildings is still under development, though it does point to Fenway’s Time Out Market and Branch Line at Arsenal on the Charles as examples. It’s aiming to make the project LEED Gold Certified.

In addition to Alexandria’s development role, the presentation for the Watertown Mall site lists Reed Hilderbrand as landscape architect, VHB as civil engineer and Gensler as architect.

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