Garden City Center launches phase II of revitalization

Cranston, R.I. -- Boston-based The Wilder Cos. said Thursday that the second phase of the multi-phased strategy to expand, reconfigure and redevelop Garden City Center, in Cranston, R.I., is officially underway.

The project involves turning vacant former large-format retail spaces into a mix of mid-sized and smaller specialty retailers, including the state’s first Corner Bakery Café which signed a multi-year lease.

Phase II begins with the demolition of the former Border’s location, which will be completely taken down to make way for a new-to-market, two-level 38,000-sq.-ft. LA Fitness, slated to open in late December.

“We are always looking for ways to differentiate Garden City Center, and the transformation of the former large format stores into smaller spaces gives us the flexibility to offer options to unique local, regional and national retailers that we previously couldn’t accommodate,” said Thomas V. Wilder, a principal of The Wilder Cos., management company for Garden City Center. “The addition of first or only in Rhode Island stores, such as LA Fitness, Pottery Barn, Lululemon Athletica, and Corner Bakery is validation by retailers of our vision to transform Garden City Center into a unique lifestyle destination.”

Corner Bakery Café will open a 5,850-sq.-ft. eatery in late 2013, located in space formerly occupied by large-format stores (Circuit City and Linens n’ Things) that are being transformed into smaller shops offering 2,700 to 7,000 sq.-ft. spaces for a variety of specialty retailers.

Locally owned existing tenant Sweenor’s Chocolates is currently undergoing a complete makeover, reopening on May 1st. Additionally, work is underway on an expansion of Starbucks which is doubling the size of its current location. Starbucks renovations are expected to be complete by early June. Meanwhile, on April 26, Lululemon Athletica will open its first Rhode Island location next door to Starbucks in a 3,332-sq.-ft. store.

Garden City Center, with 500,000 sq. ft. of retail and office space, is home to 55 shops, services, and eateries including Anthropologie, Ann Taylor, Banana Republic, Loft, Mel and Me, Providence Diamond Co., Chico’s, Mod Mama, Pinkberry, Williams-Sonoma and Pottery Barn and Whole Foods Market.


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