KINGSTON – It’s going to better, cooler and more comfortable, with a lot more to offer the shopper, the entertainment starved, the just plain starved and the thirsty.
Meet the Kingston Collection – Kingston’s newest addition that will rise from what could be termed the ashes of the Independence Mall.
For years, town officials and shoppers alike have sounded the death knell for the Independence Mall (off Route 3’s Exit 8), as Colony Place (off Exit 7) in Plymouth and other newer shopping centers have built up and pulled shoppers away from Kingston.
But Pyramid Management Group, which owns the mall, has opted for reinvention, redesign, a new look and a brand new name. The company officially unveiled the Kingston Collection Tuesday in a groundbreaking ceremony, heralding a new life for this 25-year-old shopping center, which already boasts a recently rebuilt and expanded Regal Independence Mall 14 RPX movie theater complex.
Upon completion in August, the Kingston Collection will feature a redesigned interior center court, new common area with soft seating, enhanced lighting and interior design and some new tenants to round out its new life.
Among the newbies – Latitude 360 is a combination restaurant and entertainment venue for all ages. Bowling lanes, a bar and restaurant, HD sports theater, high-tech game room, live music and award-winning food and drink will make this a go-to attraction, according to Kingston Collection General Manager Wynn Schoeneck.
Billy Beez, an entertainment destination for children, will be another addition, featuring 18,000 square feet of fun. Think indoor playground here. The Mac Express will also join The Kingston Collection, helping to provide Mac products and services to the region. And Newbury Comics is slated to expand.
The groundbreaking ceremony drew company representatives, town and state officials and plenty of applause.
“Thank you for not giving up,” Kingston Selectmen Chairman Elaine Fiore told the crowd gathered under the tent in front of the Macy’s store. “I know projects of this magnitude don’t happen every day. This will be an experience, not just a trip to the mall.”
Destination Plymouth County Executive Director Paul Cripps praised the effort, noting that it will boost the local economy and provide needed jobs.
“In the tourism world, if you don’t change you don’t exist for long,” he added, lauding Pyramid Management Group for rolling with the times. Tourists spent $300 million in Plymouth last year, he said, and they like to shop, particularly overseas tourists who lug an empty suitcase with them for just that reason.
Today, tourism is the number one industry in the world, Cripps added, the number two industry in the United States and the third most revenue-producing industry in Massachusetts.
“That’s because of the crappy roads and lousy signage,” he added, causing ripples of laughter. Cripps drew more laughs when he noted that the suit he was wearing was purchased at Macy’s. And he continued to keep the audience in stitches through most of his speech. When state Rep. Vinny deMacedo, R-Plymouth, seated in the audience, burst out laughing, state Rep. Tom Calter, D-Kingston, couldn’t help capitalizing on Cripps’ hilarious speech.
“What’s really funny is that Paul’s got to have his suit back by noontime,” Calter said, to even more laughter.
It was certainly a jovial crowd that turned out for the groundbreaking of a redesign and reinvigoration that has been anxiously awaited.
If the redesign and new tenants aren’t enough, the good news for those who don’t enjoy the blistering heat and freezing cold that New England dolls out is that this indoor mall is staying put. It will be cool in the summer and warm in the winter, offering something an outdoor mall can’t.
Follow Emily Clark on Twitter @emilyOCM.
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