Arsenal Yards, the massive development planned for the site of the shuttered Arsenal Mall, is coming into focus.
Eventually the million-plus square foot project, located on Arsenal Street in Watertown, will boast 300 apartment units, 108,000 square feet of office and life science lab space, a movie theater, stores, restaurants, easier access to the 12-acre Arsenal Park on the Charles River, and more.
“The look and feel appeals to who we think will be apartment dwellers here. That’s more likely to be 29-year-olds, not 64-year-olds,” said Bill McQuillan, founder of Boylston Properties, referring to apartments expected to be completed by 2021.
The ongoing redevelopment picked up steam in November when the addition of vibrant street art marked the phase one rollout.
The artists behind the colorful murals are Detroit-based Ouizi, known for her Georgia O’Keeffe-inspired, larger-than-life flower murals, along with Easthampton-based geometric painter Kim Carlino and Boston-based abstract impressionist Felipe Ortiz.
“Felipe and Kim’s work adds so much fun art, too,” McQuillan said. “I am not an Instagrammer, but these are Instagrammable moments.”
Phase one also saw doors open at Old Navy, Gap, Chipotle, and Shake Shack. Marshalls stayed open during the construction.
The majority of the retail and entertainment concepts should be completed by mid 2020, with a final phase completing the current plans in 2021.
Here are the shops and restaurants coming soon:
Formerly dingy buildings opposite Target and Best Buy — right by the onetime munitions-producing arsenal buildings — will continue to transform through fall 2020 when the project’s second phase brings the following: Condesa Restaurante Mexicano; beer-centric City Works Eatery and Pour House; The Gallows/Blackbird joint concept (a sister property to the Boston bar and doughnut shops); national casual Japanese restaurant chain Pokeworks; the first U.S. outpost for Tori Jiro, a Tokyo-based yakitori chain; and several retail outlets, including a Roche Bros. supermarket.
“Phase two will begin with City Works opening in March,” McQuillan said. “We have a lot of big-name national stores and restaurants, but we are also curating with smaller business like Condesa Restaurante Mexicano, which is a Rhode Island Mexican restaurant.”
One of the most anticipated additions during phase two is The Majestic 7, a seven-screen movie theater in the space next to Home Depot, which will open this winter.
“Something cool happened when we were developing that: We found an old gantry crane, which would have been used to move large equipment like canons. That was 50 tons to move,” McQuillan said. “It will be visible in the lobby. It’s old. The arsenal dates to 1816. That’s 200 years old.
The third and final phase in 2021 brings the first New England location of California-based sushi restaurant Kura Sushi, known for its conveyor belt delivery. More venues may be announced as the development chugs toward completion.
“We have 21 leases signed so far, and it keeps on happening,” McQuillan said. “There’s no big opening. We wanted them all open yesterday, but each individual tenant has its own schedule.”