03 April 2023

CambridgeSide, Cambridge, MA

 An extant asset

Just a quick walk across the Longfellow Bridge from the Boston side of the Charles River brought me to the city of Cambridge, Beantown’s well known “suburb” and home to the prestigious institutions Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  Also making its home among the city’s intelligentsia is the Cambridgeside Galleria.

Exterior shots of Cambridgeside Galleria.

The Galleria, home to Sears and Macy’s at the time of my visit in 2017, is your basic tri-level urban center.  It sits on a smallish plot of land surrounded by parking structures and mid-rise office buildings.  The main entrance is adorned in stylish, though somewhat dated, glass elements.  On the inside is your standard example of contemporary mall design boasting every shade of white and gray imaginable, with brass railings and tile floors thrown in for good measure.  It wasn’t particularly memorable but did provide for a decent venue in which to procure a bite to eat before a busy day exploring the city.   

Cambridgeside Galleria mallmanac ca 2011.  View the full PDF version here.
Cambridgeside Galleria mallmanac ca 2017.  View the full PDF version here.

Cambridgeside Galleria opened in 1978 as part of the revitalization of the Cambridge riverfront.  The original anchors were Filene’s, Lechmere and Sears.  Lechmere closed in 1997 and was eventually replaced with a Best Buy and Border’s, which would later become TJ Maxx.  Filene’s departed in 2006 after their takeover by Macy’s while Sears held on until 2018 when it was the final original anchor to close.  Macy’s and Best Buy followed suit in 2020 and 2022, respectively, leaving CambridgeSide effectively anchor-less.

Cambridgeside Galleria's main concourse.

The revitalization of the mall, now known simply as CambridgeSide, contributed in large part to the addition of new life on the riverfront.  But it's obvious that the facility’s days as a single-mode retail hub have passed.  A major new leaseholder is SmartLabs, which is converting the entire third floor into lab space.  Other changes have been announced as well, and hopefully they will be what is needed to keep CambridgeSide a viable destination in the city.

CambridgeSide mallmanac ca 2022.  View the full PDF version here.

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