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Northshore Mall brings the heat with renovations, additions




In Greek mythology, when one head of the Hydra is cut off, two grows in its place. That is certainly the case for the Northshore Mall, where Bancroft & Co. and Tony C’s Sports Bar & Grill will replace the late P.F. Chang’s. The huge Asian restaurant, which came with the mall’s last renovation in 2008, closed last week.

Tony C’s Sports Bar & Grill, named in honor of the legendary Red Sox outfielder and Revere native, Tony Conigliaro, will be a sports-themed restaurant. It will primarily serve “contemporary American comfort food” and will naturally offer HD television screens to catch the game. Bancroft & Co., which brands itself as a “modern steakhouse” that also specializes in craft cocktails, will also be making its way in the mall. Bancroft, according to its press release, will be 10,000 square feet in total, with two floors. Meals will be served up by head chef Mario Capone.

“We are really looking forward to introducing these two popular restaurants to shoppers here at Northshore Mall, creating a dining destination that will cater to a wide variety of preferences,” said Mark Whiting, Northshore Mall’s Manager, in a press release. “These redevelopment plans have been in the works for some time, and we have kept the community and our shoppers’ comfort and convenience top of mind by designing an inviting atmosphere for dining and socializing both inside and out. We can’t wait to share further details of our vision, and we will be announcing the additional dining concepts in the near future.”

In the accompanying press release, the mall revealed that the restaurants would also come with significant updates to the exterior of the building along with experiential upgrades. Those include the placement of an “outdoor stage” that can be used for performances, and outdoor patios for alfresco dining.

The changes are notable in light of the recent strategies of nearby competitor MarketStreet, which is also currently trying to move towards more “experiential” offerings. Developer Ted Tye, who manages the sprawling outdoor mall, has warned of the decline of malls with the increased popularity of online sales, and said that the way to keep malls relevant is to offer products that customers can “engage” in. Tye notably used this pitch to try to bring a movie theatre to the mall, which would join its other “experiential” offerings, such as golf, yoga and painting.

In a phone call, Whiting rejected any notion that malls are in trouble, and refused to comment on MarketStreet’s strategy. He also declined to comment on whether the renovations were part of a trend among malls nationwide – according to Tye – which is adding experiential components to their offerings. He pointed to the throngs of thousands of people at the mall on Black Friday as evidence that any speculation of the mall’s decline is a myth.

“Malls are a highly social experience and are flourishing,” Whiting said. “We’re trying to build on that trend.”

He did acknowledge that constant change and attention to trends is important in its future. He said that the key to any business’s success is staying ahead of the trends and constantly evolving, two key approaches that have helped the mall remain alive for more than half a century.

“I think we offer a highly relevant experience, and outdoor dining is a very important trend to embrace,” Whiting said.

The Northshore Mall was built in 1958 and remains a stalwart on the North Shore in terms of shopping experience. “Anchored” by Nordstrom, JC Penney, and Macy’s, the mall also brings in top-notch retailers, such as Pink and H&M, and more recently, Brooks Brothers and Michael Kors.

Construction on the restaurants and renovations will begin at the end of this month and should be completed by the following April.

By Melanie Higgins

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