The summer and fall of 2016 will go down as a transformative time in history for the now 56 year-old Red Bridge Shopping Center. We are just under halfway through our renovations, and there is a lot of activity at the center. Below is an update on where we are, and what’s left to come. We are thrilled to see some of the “New” Red Bridge Shopping Center taking shape, and can’t wait to unveil the finished product later this year. We are anticipating construction to be completed by October 15.
The Former Bowling Alley
We officially began renovations to the center on the south side near the end of April, however we got a bit of a head start on the former bowling alley space in early March. The bowling alley interior was completely demolished in anticipation for the new Euston Hardware store. Euston’s will take the west 15,000 square feet of the total 30,000 square-foot building. Our work on the exterior of the entire building will begin in July. Euston’s will also begin their custom build-out work on the interior of the space, and are planning to open this fall.
We’ve mentioned tower elements a few times in our description of the renovations. These two towers, to be constructed at the northeast and southeast corner of the main square building, are probably the most dramatic and distinctive of the features that we are adding to the existing center. The towers are reminiscent of a Cape Cod look, and inspired our slightly coastal theme which you will see throughout the center in the decorative light fixtures, landscaping, and additional details across the property. The towers themselves will help add needed height to the center, along with a decorative screening (the screening will hide the unsightly heating and air conditioning units atop the building) that connects between the two towers. The two towers will include windows that will bring natural light into the spaces below. The screening will also be constructed on the north end of the shopping center to add height there as well. You will be able to see these towers taking shape toward the end of July.
Canopies and Columns
Many of the existing columns at the center have weathered and rotted over time. We are not only replacing these, but adding “double columns” with a limestone base, to every third column to create a more interesting façade. These decorative columns will also feature ornamental lighting for enhanced ambient lighting and safety at night.
One of our favorite architectural details at Red Bridge is the overhanging canopy with old fashioned tongue and groove boarding, along with the quaint rafter tails along the bottom of the sloped roof. The rafter tails have been covered by gutters and tenant signage for decades, and were an exciting “find” when we began the planning process. Fortunately, the existing materials are in great condition. With just a little paint and spruced up lighting, this feature will highlight Red Bridge with a unique aesthetic to distinguish it from other retail centers. Along with high quality interior lit signage and a new gutter system, the façade will keep its original charm, but feel new at the same time.
As of this posting, the most obvious construction activity is throughout the parking lot. As you have probably noticed, we have started to carve out bits of the parking lot to create significant landscape islands in the middle of the parking lots and up against the sidewalks. These areas will enhance the pedestrian experience and will be adorned with pergolas, foliage, real brick pavers, benches and other amenities. The corners of the shopping center will especially be enlarged with what we call “pocket parks;” areas that provide a good spot to sit, relax, and enjoy the bustle of the center around you. We are also creating a pocket park with red brick pavers and a walkway on the northeast corner of the grocery store. By extending and enhancing this corner we aim to make the grocery feel closer and more connected to the rest of the center. Hopefully, this will encourage more pedestrian activity and connectivity in the center overall.
Don’t worry, Red Bridge will still have plenty of convenient parking. In fact, it is one of our biggest selling points to new retailers and restaurants – we have more than enough parking for customers. However, when we are complete the parking will look completely different than the current “sea of asphalt.” Large masses of parking will be broken up with beautiful landscape islands and brick walkways, making the overall look more inviting. In addition, the parking lot asphalt will be completely replaced. The main building lot will be replaced before the end of construction, and the area in front of Sunfresh at a later date.
Sidewalks and Entrances
You may have noticed that we are also removing much of the sidewalk around the main Red Bridge square. Some sidewalks were in excellent shape while others were in poor condition and needed to be replaced. We are replacing the sidewalks where needed, as well as all of the main vehicular entrances to the center. In several months, we will also be replacing all of the pavement in the tenant delivery area in the middle of the square, making this area new again. Though most customers will not see the difference here, it is a much needed improvement for the businesses and their suppliers.
The main part of the center will be getting a completely new roof, including the sloped sections that are very visible, and the interior flat roof which is not seen by the public. The slope roof is currently a charming, but tired, slate roof which we considered keeping. However, this part of the roof is over fifty years old and has just become too brittle to function well. We are replacing the slate with a simple gray shingle. We purposely wanted the roof to be neutral in detail and color so as not to compete with our new towers and screening above, along with the columns and other more exciting details below.
Of course, there are many other repairs and renovations happening that aren’t nearly as exciting to talk about. Fixing plumbing and old utility lines, heating and air-conditioning units, electric panels, you name it. It’s like just fixing up a very old house: as soon as you think you’ve found it all, there’s one more piece to replace!
When we are done with the renovations, the center will feel like new again. We are excited to be making progress, and appreciate your patience with the construction and mess. Remember that all your favorite Red Bridge business are open during construction. Stop in and have a look at the center taking shape around you!