By Dom Nozzi
Mashpee Commons, located north of Cape Cod, is an impressive example of a transformation of a conventional shopping center into a walkable, traditional town center.
Today, it now has a gridded, walkable street pattern fronted by buildings abutting the sidewalk in a traditional, downtown New England manner. There are street trees, on-street parking, pedestrian lighting, sidewalks, benches, plazas and plans for incorporating residential units. The parking lots are re-located to the rear of the buildings. It is a three-block downtown.
This sort of transformation is now occurring with increasing frequency throughout the nation. Unlike Mashpee, however, nearly all of these transformations have residences concurrent with, or prior to, the retail and office component. Normally, traditional development projects (walkable and mixed-use) built today have the residences built prior to non-residential, and it is hoped that the non-residential will ultimately be built as the market is eventually created by the new residences.
Mashpee Commons now contains a library, a church, a Boys and Girls Club, a post office, a six-screen movie theatre, a number of restaurants, a senior center and elderly housing. In all, there is now 278,946 square feet of commercial tenants and 40 residential units above the retail space.
Designer of Mashpee Commons was the Duany/Plater-Zyberk consulting firm.
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