When fans in Manchester, N.H., come to watch their new hometown team, a Toronto Blue Jays Double A affiliate, they'll have more than baseball souvenirs to buy after the game.
To coincide with the 2005 arrival of the team — now known as the New Haven Ravens — at a new 6,500-seat stadium, Manchester Downtown Visions (MDV) is developing an adjacent lifestyle center with as much as 200,000 square feet of shopping space. MDV is also building the stadium.
In April, MDV retained Chicago-based Urban Retail Properties as the project's retail consultant. Urban Retail Executive Vice President Paul Grant wants tenants that will support a lifestyle experience and are independent of the sports venue. High on his list is a bookstore that would act as a second anchor; the ballpark the first.
“We want to create a lot of synergy on the site and be able to transfer a lot of the audience of the ballpark into the retail and restaurant component of the project,” says MDV Principal Kurt Sanborn. The lifestyle streetscape will provide an alternative to the shopping experience that the nearby Mall of New Hampshire offers.
Urban Retail has commissioned architecture firm Cooper Carry to help develop the plan, which will also include an ice-skating rink. Cooper Carry principal Angelo Carusi says the design will probably reflect the “vivid history and architecture of Manchester,” a former mill town.
The stadium and urban lifestyle center are just two components of a 35-acre mixed-use plan that Sanborn estimates will cost as much as $150 million. The development is part of the city's drive to become an entertainment destination.
Ohio: A Lifestyle Hotbed
The Buckeye State will be home to 17 percent of the 2003-2004 batch of new lifestyle centers, according to ICSC research. In 2002, median home prices were up 8 percent in Dayton, 6.5 percent in Cleveland and 3.5 percent in Cincinnati, according to Economy.com.
Lifestyle additions include: Cleveland's Legacy Village, a 615,000-square-foot project by First Interstate Properties; Cincinnati's The Streets of Westchester, 350,000-square-feet by Continental Real Estate; Cincinnati's Deerfield Town Center, 415,472-square-foot by Jeffrey R. Anderson Real Estate Inc.; and Dayton's The Greene Town Center, 500,000-square-foot by Steiner + Associates.