Stalled by the pandemic, the development of the 440 aims to regain momentum
TYNGSBORO – Selectmen recently received an update on The 440, a proposed retail redevelopment project at 440 Middlesex Road which has been stalled by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The council also heard that Tavern on the Square would be one of the tenants of the property.
Sam Park, president of the real estate company that bears his name, took over the property in 2019 with a mission that seemed ideal for transforming the space.
“We work with landowners, developers and real estate professionals to ‘reinvent’ underutilized property – while collaborating closely with designers, financial advisors and financial partners early in the process,” promises the company on social networks.
His company has developed The Point in Littleton, which is described on social media as a “mixed-use destination combining shopping, dining, grocery, hotel, office and entertainment”.
The Middlesex Road shopping center had struggled for years, losing major tenants like Outback Steakhouse, TJ Maxx and Trader Joe’s over the past decade.
Park approached Tyngsboro in 2019 for a tax increment funding deal. A TIF subsidizes businesses by designating a portion of their taxes to help fund a development project. Usually, a TIF helps pay for infrastructure improvements in the area near a new development.
Then came the pandemic.
“Some stores couldn’t handle the COVID shutdown,” Park said.
In 2019, just months before the pandemic hit, its TIF agreement with the city indicated that the mall was approximately 135,000 square feet with approximately 70,000 square feet occupied.
Park told selectors he had been “preparing” during the pandemic and wanted to share the progress he had made. As well as the Tavern on the Square announcement, he said his business had sold the building which houses Dunkin’ and Mac-n-Choose, which immediately faces Middlesex Road, to focus on the rest of the property .
The company has renovated the building behind Dunkin’, so tenants can move to the other side of the center while their space is redeveloped. More recently, a pet food store, fitness studio and yoga studio were tenants in this building.
The Dollar Tree Store is among the tenants that will move out during the redevelopment. When the whole project is finished and the tenants are back on the other side of the property, Park can also sell this building.
Park intends for two buildings at the rear of the property to be part of what he called a “new concept bowling alley”, which includes a bar and entertainment. The AMC Theater would fit into this vision of family entertainment.
He told selectors he “hopes to be thriving this summer” but still needs to work out a construction schedule and additional funding.