"The Growth District designation provides a tremendous boost toNorthwest Park as it puts [the] location on a list ofpre-permitted, shovel-ready development sites withinMassachusetts," says Todd Fremont-Smith, SVP of development forNordblom Co., in a statement.

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The project is zoned for mixed-use, planned for office andretail, off the Middlesex Turnpike here. The development willtransform an existing office park into a spacious community made-upof class A office/R&D, retail, restaurants, residential units,a boutique hotel and public green space. Fremont-Smith estimates atotal cost roughly at $500 million, but adds that, "[NorthwestPark] project is more than evolution, like most large projectsanywhere, it's going to get built-out over 10 to 15 years. So,we're looking at this on a more incremental, evolutionaryprocess."

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Recently, Palomar Medical Technologies signed on to take a130,000-square-foot built-to-suit building with the option ofadding a separate 50,000-square-foot building. Palomar purchased8.35 acres of fully-permitted land--for $10.7 million--where thebuilding is to be constructed for roughly $35 million to $37million. The building will break ground next week and will deliverin early 2010.

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Fremont-Smith explains to GlobeSt.com, "We still have two morebuilding sites at that particular end of the campus, so we'retrying to take this on a deal-by-deal basis and let the marketdrive this process. As opposed to force this project on a marketthat may not be ready for it." He explains, "The mixed-use zoningallows us to respond to the portions of the market which are doingwell and to wait for the markets that are not doing so well, tocatch up."

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The development will be broken up into the integrated mixed-useareas with some of the office set off at the northern-end of thecampus, where the developers are looking for several large officetenants ranging from 400,000 square feet and up. Fremont-Smithpoints out that there are a number of companies which are "lookingthrough the recession" or are anticipating leases that are burningoff, while aiming to consolidate parts of their companies under asingle roof.

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"On the retail side, I think we still see and incrementalgrowth," he says. "I'm not sure the market, today, needshalf-a-million square feet of retail. But the market in Burlingtonis always ready for the organic, high-quality retail growth thatwe're pursuing." Like all developers, he notes, Nordblom faceschallenges in this economic environment, but adding, "We have avery long-range, public view."

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