Garden City Center Begins Phase II Revitalization – Corner Bakery Café to Open First Rhode Island Location

CRANSTON, RI – Phase II of the multi-phased strategy to expand, reconfigure and redevelop historic Garden City Center, Rhode Island’s premier outdoor shopping venue, begins this week as work gets underway with the demolition of the former Border’s location to make way for LA Fitness. At the same time, Garden City Center has signed a multi-year lease to bring the first Corner Bakery Café to Rhode Island, while revitalization of several longtime retailers, including one of the original shops, continues in the Village.

Shoppers to See Demolition of former Border’s

Phase II begins with the demolition of the former Border’s location, which will be completely taken down to make way for a new two-level 38,000 square foot LA Fitness, their first Rhode Island location. Interior demolition has been going on for the last several weeks, and now shoppers will see heavy equipment beginning to knock down the façade and building shell, a process that will take several weeks. Construction of the new building will begin this summer, and LA Fitness is expected to open in late December.

“We are always looking for ways to differentiate Garden City Center, and the transformation of the former large format stores into smaller spaces gives us the flexibility to offer options to unique local, regional and national retailers that we previously couldn’t accommodate,” said Thomas V. Wilder, a principal of The Wilder Companies, the management company for Garden City Center. “The addition of first or only in Rhode Island stores, such as LA Fitness, Pottery Barn, Lululemon Athletica, and Corner Bakery is validation by retailers of our vision to transform Garden City Center into a unique lifestyle destination.”

Corner Bakery Café to Open First Store in New England at Garden City Center

Corner Bakery Café, a fast-casual restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner has signed a multi-year lease to open its first New England location with a 5,850 square foot eatery. Founded on a philosophy of creating a place for people to relax and gather with family and friends, Corner Bakery Café features innovative, seasonal menu options while delivering a premier bakery cafe experience along with an outdoor patio. Anticipated to open in late 2013 as part of Phase II,  Corner Bakery Café will be located in space formerly occupied by large format stores (Circuit City and Linens n’ Things) that are being transformed into smaller shops offering 2,700 to 7,000 square foot spaces for a variety of specialty retailers.

“The reconfiguration of these large spaces into smaller shops, next to the new Pottery Barn building, combined with enhanced pedestrian and vehicular connections, really expands the Village shopping experience which is one of our major goals,” said Andrew T. LaGrega, another principal of The Wilder Companies. “The changes allow us to add to the overall merchandise mix solidifying the center’s place as Rhode Island’s premiere lifestyle shopping destination.”

Sweenor’s, Starbucks Get Make Over, Lululemon Athletica to Open

Sweenor’s Chocolates, a locally-owned store, and one of Garden City Center’s original shops when it opened in the Village 65 years ago, is currently undergoing a complete makeover, both inside the shop and on its façade. Closed during renovations, Sweenor’s is expected to reopen on May 1st.  Additionally, work is currently underway on an expansion of Starbucks which is doubling the size of its current location.  Starbucks renovations are expected to be complete by early June.  Meanwhile, on April 26, Lululemon Athletica will open its first Rhode Island location next door to Starbucks in a 3,332 square foot store.

About Garden City Center

Located on Route 2 in Cranston, Garden City Center has 500,000 square feet of retail and office space. It was one of the first centers of its kind in the country and generations have fond memories of GCC shopping excursions.  The center is currently home to 55 shops, services, and eateries including Anthropologie, Ann Taylor, Banana Republic, Mel and Me, Providence Diamond Co., Chico’s, Mod Mama, Pinkberry, Williams-Sonoma, Pottery Barn and Whole Foods Market.

About The Wilder Companies

Based in Boston, The Wilder Companies specializes in the merchandising and positioning of retail properties. The Company has over 40 years experience developing regional malls, specialty centers, urban properties and mixed-use developments throughout the country and Puerto Rico. In addition to its own investment partnerships Wilder provides property management and leasing services for institutions, owners and investors. The Company currently has a portfolio of 50 properties throughout the East Coast.

The Wilder Companies * 800 Boylston St, Suite 1300 * Boston, MA 02199 * 617-247-9200 *

Garden City Center * 100 Midway Rd, Suite 14 * Cranston, RI 02920 * 401-942-2800 *

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