The Hippo


May 25, 2020








Bedford makeover
Progress continues for new shopping mecca

By Ryan Lessard

As work on a Whole Foods nears completion, the changes to South River Road in Bedford continue with plans to turn the neighboring Macy’s site into a plaza that could include a cinema. As soon as spring 2017, the two plots could be a gathering place for shoppers to grab a bite to eat, shop for clothes and groceries and maybe hit the gym, all within about a half mile’s distance.

The new shopping areas will be on the spot that once housed the Wayfarer Inn and the land where Macy’s currently stands. Macy’s is expected to close by the end of October,  according to the Union Leader, and will be torn down next year. Work on the Wayfarer spot’s new Goffe Mill Plaza is already underway. These two new developments join a remake of the nearby Bedford Mall, which was completed in 2012.
“The idea is to have kind of a walking area where there’s events going on from time to time as well as mixed uses,” said Bob Rohrer of Colliers International, which brokered the sale of the Macy’s land. 
Goffe Mill Plaza
Contractors are nearly done building a new Whole Foods Market and adjoining retail space for what will become the Goffe Mill Plaza. Whole Foods spokesperson Heather McCready says the company expects the Bedford store to open by late spring 2016.
Jeff Kevan is the senior project manager at TFMoran, a local civil engineering firm contracted to work on the Goffe Mill Plaza. Kevan says they began construction in March and started design work nine months prior to that. The main anchor is the 40,000-square-foot Whole Foods grocery store, but there will be more to it than that.
“There’s an additional 8,000 square feet of retail that I don’t believe that they have specific tenants for yet. Provident Bank is being built out front. Then, on the north side of Bowman Brook — the Bedford Mall side — there are two restaurant properties that are approved and an apartment building,” Kevan said. 
So far, the Whole Foods shell has been all but completed, with interior work beginning soon. The apartment building and restaurant buildings have not begun construction yet.
The Bedford Mall was already redeveloped from an interior mall to a plaza with Fresh Market and Kohl’s as anchors and a nearby Starbucks, Outback Steakhouse and Chipotle.
Hannaford expects to finish moving into the old Stop & Shop location across the street by spring or summer 2016. It will replace the current store up the street on Colby Court. 
Goodbye Macy’s, hello iPic?
Early plans for the Macy’s spot include a high-end cinema, restaurants, fitness centers and more. Rohrer said this kind of development is called a “lifestyle center” and is more common in other parts of the country. 
“It will be slightly upscale … more in line with the Whole Foods store going in,” he said.
Next year, work will begin at the current site of Macy’s and Carrabba’s Italian Grill. Encore Retail bought the land for $12 million in August. Mike Nelson, the vice president of Encore Retail, says the Macy’s building will be demolished to make room for a mixed-use marketplace not unlike what’s planned on the abutting land around Whole Foods.
“In fact, we’re going to be cohesive with their development and we’ve been great teammates with them. We’re kind of blending it all together,” Nelson said. 
On the Macy’s land, Nelson expects retail tenants for fashion and cosmetics, athletic facilities, high-end restaurants and a cinema. Encore is currently in talks with about 25 companies including hiking outfitter REI and cinema lounge iPic and Cinemex. Designs place the theater space above a restaurant and bar. Nelson says Bloomin’ Brands, the company that owns Carrabba’s and Outback Steakhouse, is considering putting in a Bonefish restaurant. There will be a parking garage, an office building and possibly a hotel.
The plan for Goffe Mill would create green space along the brook that bisects the land. There will be benches and a half-mile-long path that loops around the brook, according to Kevan. Nelson said Encore hopes to pick up that walkway where it leaves off.
“...Whether it’s with bricks or color or pavement, we’re going to blend that in to continue into our property,” Nelson said.
He plans to create a lot of green space, walkways and waterways.
“It is meant to be someplace where you can spend some time if you wanted to,” he said. 

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