Image courtesy of IBI Placemaking

On the heels of recent life science leases reshaping its Cambridgeside property, owner New England Development is set to update Lechmere Canal Park with new lighting, landscaping and accessibility upgrades.

The developer plans to start construction this spring at the 40-year-old park designed by the late landscape architect Carol R. Johnson.

The Boston developer last month submitted updated designs to the riverside recreation area as part of its 2-million-square-foot mixed-use transformation of the late 1980s-era shopping mall. The project will include new luminaires, public art and updated walkways bordering the canal, which was built in 1895 and used until construction of the Charles River Dam Bridge in 1910.

Completion of the park project is required before developers can receive a certificate of occupancy for the 360,000-square-foot 20 CambridgeSide office-lab building now under construction.

According to a submission this month to the Cambridge Planning Board, key elements of the project include:

  • Limiting the removal of existing ground plane plant material whenever possible;
  • Replacing/refurbishing existing non-compliant stairs and ramps to be code-compliant;
  • Enhancing the site lighting to provide improved performance, visual comfort and safety;
  • Updating existing non-compliant railings;
  • Providing a refreshed play area while maintaining the existing structure in an aesthetic similar to the original park design;
  • Preserving and restoring trees, art and structures within the park;
  • Refurbishing existing furnishings and using materials, finishes and designs consistent with the original design;
  • Reconstructing the lower park walk to allow for year-round accessibility.

In 2021, New England Development received approval to redevelop former mall anchor spaces previously occupied by Sears and Best Buy as office and lab space. The 60 First St. building nearing completion on the former Sears site has attracted leases from Prime Medicine and Korro Bio.

And last week, New England Development announced that flexible space provider SmartLabs leased the 140,000-square-foot third floor of the mall building.

New England Development Unveils Changes to Lechmere Canal Park

by Steve Adams time to read: 1 min