Many of us saw it coming. The imminent closing of the downtown Lynn Shaw’s Market was widely seen to be a sure casualty of Market Basket’s new store across town. Lynn/EDIC (Economic Development and Industrial Corporation) seems to be on the right track by identifying this once and future commercial hub of our city for what it is: the very center of our downtown retail and service network.
Now that the largest anchor store is moving out, it is time to take an holistic view of this entire parcel. Murmurs of a higher-level structure lend themselves to visions with offices and, perhaps, studio and one-bedroom residential units above plaza-level, pedestrian- and auto-friendly, landscaped, street-level shops and stores, and bike-share and car-share stations.
The retail mix there right now is a good example of a meaningful offering of services. There could be more, with a seamlessly-accessible second retail level. Our mini Copley Place could become a reality.
MassDevelopment ideas to improve the Market Street gateway into the city pair nicely with this notion. Staid businesses such as Zimman’s fabric store already draw commuter rail riders from Boston, and the old vision of Lynn as a design-center destination floated a decade ago could be dusted off, with Ferguson’s plumbing showroom, Lucia Lighting, and our burgeoning arts and artifacts galleries industry all just a few avenues away.
Hopefully, some facade attention to the southern face of Market Street could be added, once again, as an historical homage to the storefronts which once stood there, including the Lyceum.
The parcel is, indeed, our diamond in the rough.
Maybe Trader Joe’s could share the old Shaw’s space with a reinvented, slimmed-down Staples, essentially a full- and self-service copy center also selling the top 20 products (paper, inks, stuff like that) Staples sells. We could save Friendly’s too, and MicroCenter.
All of these would be additional destination and reasons to come downtown and fill the commuter garage on Market and Broad streets.