The former Atrium Mall in Chestnut Hill, MA suffered a similar fate to other formerly bustling locations.Once a thriving location that was packed with shoppers on the lookout for the latest trends and to take advantage of in-store deals, interest in the mall and the retailers it housed fell by the wayside, and the mall would close for good three years ago. According to the Boston Globe, the property’s new owner has a vision in mind for remaking the former hot spot, and they are well on their way to making it a reality.
Developer Bullfinch Cos. purchased the Atrium in 2012 for $46 million, and quickly set its transformation plans in motion. The property’s final retail tenants would gradually pack up shop and move on, and the developer would begin substantial renovations. Gone are the escalators, marble floors, and storefronts, and in their place are vibrant floor-to-ceiling windows to fill the property with an abundance of natural light.
That theme fits in with the developers’ overall vision to transform the former retail hub into a hub of another kind – one that caters to the demand for fitness, health, and wellness.
“We thought it was just a logical transition. It’s a convergence of what customers want to see today,” explains Bullfinch CEO Eric Schlager.
The new anchor of the building will be Life Time Fitness, a national health club operator. Life Time will occupy 110,000 square feet over the bottom two floors, and feature high-end exercise space, in-house spas, as well as a healthy café. The former Atrium will even be renamed Life Time Center.
The remaining space of the reborn property will be marketed to others that fit in with the overall theme. Doctors and health and wellness providers are at the top of the list, and Life Time is on board with Bullfinch’s overall vision.
“We think with us in that building, their direction really becomes clear. It’s going to be a center for healthy living, healthy aging, and it’s going to serve the area very well,” says Life Time CEO Bahram Akradi.
The transformation of an old building sits well with Haril Pandya of Boston-based CBT Architects, which works on reusing old buildings.
“Gone are the days of that centralized mall experience. Now developers are trying to blur the lines between live, work, and play. Putting fitness at the core of a building like this really makes sense,” he says.