Stein Mart, the National Fashion Retailer, and Ted's Montana Grill Choose Bay State Commons for its New England Debut: Relationship Retailing is Key

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Lifestyle Malls Like Bay State Commons in Westborough, MA Bring Home Fashion, Style and Fun to Growing Communities. In the past, main street retailers in smaller towns focused on convenience and did not even attempt to compete against regional malls on the fashion front. No more - Bay State Commons epitomizes the forward-looking Lifestyle Mall concept with its village setting, upscale shops and concept restaurants. Harmon Lewis of National Commercial Brokers, Needham, MA is the exclusive broker.

Lifestyle malls - or more accurately lifestyle centers - are creating a shopping and entertainment experience that is integrated with the communities they serve. Unlike the big regional mall and big box stores, shoppers develop a relationship with the center that they cannot find anywhere else

The new Bay State Commons, in Westborough, MA, is at the forefront of a trend toward bringing tony shopping closer to home with national retailers such as Stein Mart and one of Massachusetts' most respected, locally-owned supermarkets - Roche Bros.

In the past, main street retailers in smaller towns focused on convenience and did not even attempt to compete against regional malls on the fashion front. No more - Bay State Commons epitomizes the forward-looking Lifestyle Mall concept with its village setting, upscale shops and concept restaurants (http://www.westboroughbaystate.com).

Pedestrian Friendly:
"Lifestyle malls - or more accurately lifestyle centers - are creating a shopping and entertainment experience that is integrated with the communities they serve. Unlike the big regional mall and big box stores, shoppers develop a relationship with the center that they cannot find anywhere else," emphasizes Ken Marvald who, with New York-based Philips International (http://www.pihc.com), is among the Bay State Commons developers. "One sure sign of success: Bay State Commons is pedestrian friendly - something you cannot say about access in big box store locations."

Demographics are helping to fuel the 56-acre project's appeal. It's no secret that home prices have soared in affluent communities closer to Boston - among them Wellesley whose own lifestyle mall, Linden Square, recently opened to serve the upscale town. These same higher home prices are pushing young professionals with families farther west of Boston to communities such as Westborough and Northborough where they can afford, and demand, the same contemporary fashion and shopping experience they grew accustomed to in the city or wealthier commuter towns.

The movement of young families is coupled with baby boomers who are looking to downsize and are drawn to the country setting and convenience of the Bay State Commons adjacent condominium development, Parkview-on-the-Commons (http://www.parkviewonthecommons.com). "It's a way to get luxurious living space for far less than what it would cost in Boston, Chestnut Hill or at the Natick Collection," Marvald notes, adding, "A large percentage of empty nester's also want to be near their grown children and are following them to towns along Route 495 beltway around Boston. Parkview-on-the-Commons meets the empty nesters' needs without having to compromise on their shopping experience, comfort, or convenience."

Stein Mart:
Several national retailers have already signed leases and opened at Bay State Commons, among them Stein Mart, Inc., the national chain known for offering the fashion merchandise, service and presentation of a better department or specialty store, at prices competitive with off-price retail chains. The Stein Mart chain also offers its own brands including Peck & Peck, T. Harris-London and Isabella DeMarco.

Commenting on the decision to locate at Bay State Commons, Kathy Lussier, Stein Mart spokeswoman, said, "Stein Mart shoppers here enjoy the convenience of a lifestyle center. With its beautiful setting, upscale tenants and accessibility, Bay State Commons is a great location for us. We are pleased that customers who knew us from other states are giving us such a warm welcome at our first store in New England and we look forward to serving our new neighbors for years to come."

Relationship Retailing
The company is already establishing relationships with the Westborough community it serves. Since opening in recent weeks, the store has hosted a benefit with Westborough Woman's Club to raise funds for community projects and scholarships.

The cornerstone of Stein Mart, the Boutique, is a special department focused on delivering personal customer service. The store-within-a-store concept offers contemporary fashions with the presentation, quality, and service found in specialty boutique shops. The Boutique serves as a personal shopper, assisting customers in putting together an outfit from head to toe. The Boutique staff is both civically and socially active within the community, reflecting its diversity and values.

"Stein Mart is operating at a level of intimacy and involvement that includes planning and hosting charity events and permeates the shopping experience as well. This kind of relationship retailing simply is not achieved at, say, the nearby Natick Collection or Shoppers World," says Marvald.

The 31,000 square-foot Stein Mart offers an assortment of current-season, moderate-to- better fashion apparel for women and men, as well as accessories, gifts, linens, and shoes. Shoppers enjoy the convenience of finding exactly what they want at prices competitive with off-price retailers, presented in an uncluttered, elegantly appointed store, right in their own neighborhood.

"Stein Mart is bringing something back that American towns lost in just the last two generations - a Main Street feeling that contributes not only to the local economy but to the social fabric of the community as well," says Marvald.

Ted's Montana Grill:
The ambiance of Main Street is benefiting Ted's Montana Grill, the national casual dining restaurant chain founded by Ted Turner. Ted's just passed the six-month milestone at Bay State Commons. According to John Gordon, proprietor, "Ted's has also been building ties with the Westborough community. We just did a chili and chowder cook-off with the Westborough high school, for example, and will be planning other community-based events soon."

The relationships Gordon is developing are paying off in business for Ted's, "We've been doing a great family and business lunch and dinner trade and are becoming an in- place to meet after work. Now that the outdoor patio is open, we are getting positive feedback from diners and creating more activity that benefits the other retailers at Bay State Commons," says Gordon, adding, "Two weeks ago the local daily paper, The Worcester Telegram & Gazette gave Ted's a four star rating."

Ted's Montana has brought urban sophistication to Westborough. The restaurant grinds all natural beef and bison twice daily for its burgers. Its diversified contemporary menu ranges from novelle items like tuna Mediterranean to comfort foods such as meatloaf. The architecture of Ted's Montana Grill at Bay State Commons is faithful to the Arts & Crafts style of the early 20th century by being built-out with rich mahogany paneling, hickory wood and custom mosaic tile floors, pressed tin ceilings, a large bar, private booths, pendant lighting, ceiling fans, metal crown moldings, and marble and brass accents. With the opening in Westborough, MA, Ted's Montana Grill now has 57 restaurants Nationwide.

Harmon Lewis of National Commercial Brokers, Needham, MA is the exclusive broker.

Bay State Commons anchor, Roche Bros. has launched one of its newer open-market concept stores there. These new Roche Bros. outlets offer several thousand more packaged products than earlier stores, plus large prepared food sections with an inspired and varied menu that rivals top restaurants. Roche Bros. brings together the convenience of the supermarket with the draw of Whole Foods and Trader Joe's. The store also includes a full-service Starbucks Café as well.

The 11-building shopping area in a village setting includes 210,000 square feet of commercial space and 44 condominiums. In addition, a 2.5-acre public park with 25 shade and fruit trees has been created for town residents.

In addition to ridding the town of unsightly abandoned factory buildings, the developer has made several road improvements, including the addition of a traffic light, the realignment of Brigham and Cottage Streets and enhanced pedestrian access.

"We wanted a contemporary project in the heart of downtown that mirrors Westborough's architecture and history," said Lou Petra, project manager. "And by all accounts, Bay State Commons has achieved that goal."

Philips International is a cutting edge developer specializing in the finance, acquisition, construction, management and marketing of over 200 commercial, office, residential and hotel properties including a strategic network of more than eighty shopping centers. Headquartered in New York City, Philips pays particular focus in the Northeast and Florida metropolitan areas with satellite offices in Hialeah, Florida, Richmond, Virginia and Houston, Texas. Philips is constantly setting new industry benchmarks and is one of the country's most renowned real estate organizations.

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