When Maggie Svirk was looking to open a Lilly Pulitzer boutique somewhere on the North Shore, she considered several locations. What she saw at Lynnfield’s MarketStreet, however, convinced her that the ambitious development in the small suburban town was the right spot for her to realize her entrepreneurial goals.
“What drew me most to Lynnfield was just the vibe that MarketStreet had,” Svirk says. “I loved that it was a family-friendly community center. There’s always moms walking around with strollers, and people on the green. People are here not just for shopping.”
Lynnfield, originally settled as part of Lynn in the 17th century, has always been a suburban outpost of Boston. In the past, parts of the town were peacefully agrarian, while other parts served as a more commercial center because of their easy accessibility to the city.
Over the years, the community evolved into a quiet, residential commuter town, in which tree-lined streets wind past historic houses. Then, in 2013, the southern part of Lynnfield regained the commercial bustle of the past, with the opening of MarketStreet, a mixed-use development that combines apartments, eateries, shopping, and entertainment in one location.
“When WS Development envisioned this property, they hoped it would become a gathering spot, a community hub,” says Charlotte Woods, general manager of MarketStreet.
That vision has become a reality over the past eight years, says Woods. The development, she says, has become something of a town center for Lynnfield. People who visit treat the center as a place to slow down and enjoy a day of shopping, browsing, eating, and relaxing, rather than just a spot to run a few busy errands.
The center of the property is the “Green,” an open space that is regularly repurposed for new, engaging events and activities. In the winter, the development’s popular skating rink occupies the space, bringing some traditional cold-weather fun to the center. In other seasons the Green hosts children’s music performances, workout classes, and interactive art displays, like last year’s Los Trompos, colorful, outsized spinning tops that visitors were welcome to climb in and ride.
MarketStreet also strives to incorporate locally owned businesses into its lineup of national brands. Clothes-shoppers can browse the racks at Abercrombie & Fitch or J.Crew, then check out the curated, multi-designer offerings at independent boutiques like Sanctum Style or Cattivo.
“It’s nice to see they’re making an effort to make sure small businesses like myself have a place here among the bigger brands,” says Jaime Sloan, owner of Sanctum Style, which opened in September. “It really is a great destination.”
Beyond clothing, there is a toy shop, a bakery dedicated to dog treats, a Williams Sonoma for all your gourmet needs, gift shops, an Apple store, and even a bricks-and-mortar Amazon store. Boston-based Wayfair has also announced that MarketStreet will be home to its first physical furniture store when AllModern opens in Lynnfield (construction starts in the spring).
MarketStreet also offers close to 20 spots to eat, whether you’re refueling after shopping or meeting some friends for a night out. The dining options range from casual poké bowls and pizza to creative seafood and upscale Italian steaks. Many of the eateries are locations in locally owned restaurant groups: Alchemy is part of Serenitee Restaurants, responsible for many popular North Shore spots, and the newly opened Burton’s Grill is the latest location for the chain that started on the South Shore.
Even as MarketStreet has striven to build its own community, the development has worked with Lynnfield residents and organizations to forge and strengthen ties with the town. This past year MarketStreet commissioned a mural on the theme of diversity, working with local group Lynnfield 4 Love. Another mural is planned for the coming year, Woods says.
The space, she says, will continue to grow and expand in coming years. The goal, however, will always be to keep community at its heart.
“They’re looking to create the perfect blend of modern convenience and small-town charm,” Woods says. “We’re really working on creating that wholesome experience here.”