June 13, 2017

Reliant moving into Auburn Mall space once slated for theater

Mallgoers pass by the former entrance to Macy's home good store from inside the Auburn Mall.

Reliant Medical Group plans to move into the former Macy's home goods store at the Auburn Mall by next summer, taking up a large vacancy at the mall after plans for a movie theater fell through.

With the move, Reliant will vacate its existing Auburn medical offices at 35 Millbury St. and at 94 Elm St. in Millbury.

The Worcester medical group is slated to use at least 69,000 square feet at the mall and potentially more. A 20,000-square-foot retail space will be left available for additional medical offices "based upon potential tenant needs," according to plans filed in Auburn Town Hall.

Simon Malls, which owns the Auburn Mall, has also proposed a 8,000-square-foot standalone restaurant between the adjacent parking garage and Auburn Street. A restaurant or retail space totaling just over 6,000 square feet was removed from an earlier proposed filed in March. A small 1,600-square-foot retail space where the mall concourse meets the former Macy's space remains in the plans.

The proposal for Reliant to go into the former two-story Macy's space at the west end of the mall will go before the Auburn Planning Board on June 27. An existing special permit must be modified to allow for the office use.

Reliant Medical Group confirmed it has executed a lease for the space, and said construction should begin for the mall space in September. The total space it will occupy has not been determined, said Michael Masseur, a spokesman for the nonprofit.

The company will move into the space in summer 2018. Reliant declined to provide information on the length or the amount of the lease.

The mall location, which is considerably larger than its existing Auburn offices, will offer behavioral medicine, cardiology, internal medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics, radiology and other services.

The medical offices plan first surfaced last fall when plans to demolish the Macy's with a 10-or 12-screen movie theater and restaurant fell through.

Reliant has been looking to redraw some of its footprint ahead of many of its leases expiring in May 2019, the company said earlier this year. The company brought for $10.25 million a four-story office building next to the Greendale Mall after tenant Babcock Power moved to Marlborough.

The medical group, which has more than 500 providers and more than 320,000 patients, voted last month to be acquired by Optum, a Minnesota-based division of national insurer UnitedHealth. The deal still requires state regulatory approval.


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