Chelmsford’s “Cross Roads at Route 129” continues to chart its own course; Expands offeringsJune 03, 2019
CHELMSFORD–The Town of Chelmsford continues its aggressive pursuit to convert a first-generation, 600-acre, 6 million square foot suburban office park into a vibrant, amenity-rich, mixed-use corridor. At the 2019 Spring Town Meeting, representatives overwhelmingly voted to allow drive-thrus associated with “upscale” fast casual eateries. This was in response to market demand as expressed by several property owners. In particular, Newton-based The RMR Group, the manager of 330 and 300 Billerica Road, expressed a desire to amenitize its existing office buildings and indicated to town officials that the need for drive-thrus associated with upscale fast casual was a critical element in the repositioning of these properties.
The upscale fast-casual restaurant model complements the adoption of Chelmsford’s Business Amenity Overlay District in October 2016, which introduced new opportunities for comprehensive redevelopment aimed at blending uses such as restaurants, retail, indoor recreation, entertainment, hotels, office and housing to foster a “live, work, and play” environment.
Chelmsford’s targeted zoning strategy is further supported by the recently completed Chelmsford Cross Roads at Route 129 – Repositioning a Suburban Office Park for a New Era report prepared by Camoin Associates and funded by a $100,000 site readiness grant from MassDevelopment.
In response to Chelmsford’s proactive rezoning efforts, multi-family developments by Princeton Properties and Kinloch Development totaling 276 rental units, and retail/restaurant developments totaling 17,000 square feet (located at 197 Billerica Road and 278 – 282 Mill Road, respectively) have both been approved by Chelmsford’s Planning Board and are actively seeking tenants.
The Town of Chelmsford is committed to expanding and improving economic development. In January, 2018 the town hired Lisa Marrone, Chelmsford’s new Director of Business Development. Marrone’s ongoing responsibilities for Cross Roads at Route 129 are to engage with industry stakeholders, create and manage the marketing and branding program efforts, and function as a liaison for all property owners, investors and tenants working with the town.
Marrone’s efforts are being noticed. Over the last year, the market has absorbed several hundred thousand square feet of formerly vacant office space, including Digital Federal Credit Union’s purchase of the former Kronos headquarters located at 297 Billerica Road and the re-tenanting of 2, 4, and 6 Omni Way by its new owner, SVN Parsons. In addition, both 250 and 300 Apollo Drive are successfully attracting new tenants and renewing leases.Lisa Marrone