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DEDHAM, MA-One of New England’s most ambitious versions of the lifestyle center has taken a major step forward following yesterday’s groundbreaking here of Legacy Place. A crowd estimated at 350 people gathered to fete the start of the 675,000-sf project on a long coveted parcel whose potential is now being realized in the joint venture of National Amusements and WS Development.

“We’re thrilled to work with National Amusements and begin construction on this phenomenal project,” said WS Development President Jeremy Sclar as he detailed the years spent planning and designing Legacy Place to achieve “the right architecture, the best tenants and the most enjoyable experience for the visitor.” The architect is Prellwitz Chilinski Associates of Cambridge.

Also speaking was National Amusements chief Shari Redstone who focused on the significance of the project’s moniker. “With the fourth generation of the family joining in the business, it is indeed a legacy,” she relayed, adding, “I look forward to working with our family, friends and partners at WS Development to bring a new era of shopping and entertainment to the region.” National Amusements was founded by Shari Redstone’s grandfather, Mickey Redstone. The fourth generation was represented at the groundbreaking by Brandon Korff, Shari Redstone’s son and manager of corporate development for National Amusements.

Slated to open in summer 2009, Legacy Place has already locked in several national retailers and such lures as a 30,000-sf, two-level LL Bean and 60,000-sf Whole Foods supermarket. There is also a 25,000-sf Kings, a bowling and billiards emporium being rolled out by Boston nightclub maven Patrick Lyons. National Amusements is providing its new high-end concept known as Showcase Cinema de Lux, touted as a new era in the movie-going experience. The 15-cinema theater includes reserved seating, in-seat dining and a lounge area where patrons can relax before and after the show and enjoy a selection of appetizers and cocktails.

Dining options will also be prevalent outside the theater, with restaurants already on board including Aquitaine, Daily Grill, Legal Seafoods, PF Changs and Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse. The shopping experience will feature Banana Republic, Bath & Body Works, Clarks, National Jean Co., Stride Rite and Urban Outfitters, with more than 60 specialty stores in all expected to encompass the tenant roster. Legacy Place will also be home to the new world headquarters of National Amusements.

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