Image courtesy of Bulfinch

As developers rethink plans for additional life science projects, Bulfinch Cos. will swap out a planned lab conversion on hold at the Natick Mall in favor of a pickleball complex.

The Boston developer is partnering with local fitness club operator D.J. Bosse on the 140,000-square-foot project, which would include 21 courts, a 100-seat restaurant, two bars and a fitness center.

Bulfinch bought the former anchor space in 2021 after Neiman Marcus announced the pending closure of the Natick store, and submitted plans for a lab conversion in a partnership with Harrison Street Capital.

The project drew opposition from residents of the Nouvelle condominiums at public hearings, but another consideration may be the widening imbalance between lab space supply and demand in Greater Boston.

Suburban lab markets have been especially hard hit by rising vacancies and sublease offerings. The availability rate in the 7.5-million-square-foot Route 128 west market hit 17.4 percent in the third quarter, according to a report released this week by brokerage Newmark, with 130,501 square feet of negative absorption.

The new development plans were first reported in The Real Reporter. Bosse Sports signed a full building lease for the space, Bulfinch Cos. said. A mid-2024 opening is planned.

The company designed the fitness club at Nouvelle at Natick and provides programming for members, Bulfinch Cos. said.

Bosse Sports, owned by former professional tennis player D.J. Bosse, operated a sports club at 141 Boston Post Road in Sudbury for 13 years prior to its closure in 2020. In 2022, the company opened Bosse Sports Training at 1 Westinghouse Plaza in Hyde Park.

Bulfinch Scraps Natick Labs for Pickleball Club

by Steve Adams time to read: 1 min