December 12, 2018

Cape Cod Times


New lease to bring $45M revamp of Capetown Plaza

Developer plans mix of modern and classic Cape Cod at Hyannis shopping complex.

HYANNIS — Coming soon to Hyannis: The Landing, a $45 million redevelopment that would bring more than 300,000 square feet of shops, restaurants, entertainment and open space to Capetown Plaza.

The town of Barnstable on Tuesday recommended awarding WS Development a long-term lease for the 26-acre, town-owned parcel along Route 132 that is under the control of the Barnstable Airport Commission.

Better known as the Kmart plaza, the property has been leased and commercially developed since 1968. The current lease expires in 2024.

WS Development was one of two companies that responded to the town’s request for proposals for future uses of the property.

The Landing at Hyannis, a nod to the airport, also could include office space. The company says it will consider creating about 75 housing units. If the housing portion is not feasible, it would donate $2.5 million to Housing Assistance Corp. over an 11-year period.

The plan includes walking paths around a pond at the back of the property, a village green that could be used as a picnic spot and a child’s play area that could be converted into a skating rink in winter.

WS Development is the current leaseholder, and said it would be able to start development immediately.

Its plan would also maintain the Kmart building through the end of the retailer’s lease, providing the opportunity for another anchor store to revive the space. If not, the building could be subdivided for smaller tenants.

“With this new lease, WS will be able to bring new life and activity to this important location in Hyannis in just a couple years,” the company said in its bid response. Buildings would not be “cookie cutter,” but would incorporate a mix of modern and classic Cape Cod details.

The redevelopment may include office space on the second and third floor of some of the buildings, promoting the creation of year-round jobs, according to the proposal.

Other WS Development projects in Massachusetts include Wareham Crossing, Legacy Place in Dedham, Derby Street Shops in Hingham and Market Street in Lynnfield.

A WS Development representative did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday.

The award is contingent on negotiations and approval of the lease by the Barnstable Town Council, according to a statement from the Barnstable Municipal Airport.

A seven-member evaluation committee determined that WS Development and The Wilder Companies/O’Connor Capital Partners, the other firm that responded to the town’s RFP, were both “fully qualified, proven and experienced,” but unanimously agreed that WS Development was the better choice based on its proposal and “a substantially higher financial offering for the long-term lease,” the statement read.

Tom Wilder, a principal of the Wilder Companies, said he was disappointed his company wasn’t picked, and said his project went further to promote a mixed-use space in keeping with the spirit of the request for proposal.

“We thought we put forth a very comprehensive proposal,” he said.

WS Development is a qualified developer, Wilder said, but it might not take a once-in-a-generation project to its most ambitious heights. Wilder Companies, which owns the Southwind Plaza just up Route 132, wants a commitment from WS Development that it won’t replace Kmart with another big-box store.

The award of the 49-year, $131 million lease is contingent on negotiations and approval by Barnstable Town Council, airport manager Katie Servis said.

Servis said WS Development talked about working with local partners, such as LoveLiveLocal, a group that advocates the sale of Cape-made products.

“That really spoke to us,” she said.

The details of the project may change as meetings with the town progress, and the future of tenants such as Old Navy and Tiki Port could be up in the air.

By Ethan Genter

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