The Transformation of Mashpee Commons



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.


Mashpee Before

Mashpee Before

Prior to 1986, when it was a shopping center, Mashpee Commons was known as New Seabury Shopping Center that was 62,000 square feet of retail floor area and a large, asphalt parking lagoon fronting it. Built in 1960, the tenants at the center were a food store, a home furnishing/hardware store, a bank, a restaurant and a theatre. 





Mashpee After Transformation

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.



Mashpee After Transformation

Mashpee After Transformation


 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.



Mashpee After Transformation

Mashpee After Transformation


 Designer of Mashpee Commons was the Duany/Plater-Zyberk consulting firm.




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