In 2008 Twining Properties assembled an in-house leasing team to lease its own retail space on the first two floors of the Watermark Residences in Kendall Square, Cambridge, MA. The team was created in response to a dissatisfaction with existing retail brokerages, which failed to offer the vision, skills and commitment needed to recruit desirable tenants and add value to the process of place-making. The group assembled was entrepreneurial and multidimensional – it consisted of seasoned practitioners in the areas of finance, architecture, law, LEED certification, real estate development, leasing and construction. As Twining Properties leased its own space, its neighbors began asking for help with similar projects and a business was born. This business is now CityRetail.
CityRetail clients range from a biotech REIT, Alexandria Real Estate Trust, to an institutional capital partner, Principal Global Investors, to one of the globes most influential universities, MIT. These clients have chosen CityRetail because of its entrepreneurial ethos and unique understanding of ground floor retail as it relates to the larger context of value creation and mixed-use real estate development.
CityRetail is best known for its integral role of late in the ground floor development of/in Kendall Square, Cambridge, MA, where it has worked with its clients to lease over 70,000 SF of previously vacant retail space in a neighborhood once viewed as highly undesirable for restauranteurs and irrelevant in the local retail landscape. CityRetail has brought 6 full serve restaurants, 2 cafes, a dry-cleaner, daycare center, health club and spa to Kendall Square in less than 3 years.
Jesse Baerkahn is the former Director of Retail Leasing and Leasing Counsel for Twining Properties. He is currently the President of CityRetail and the author of this blog.