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March 27, 2024

Former Christmas Tree Shops plaza in Shrewsbury sold for $13.6M as Town considers site for MBTA zoning

A shopping plaza Image | Courtesy of Google Maps The Olde Shrewsbury Village shopping plaza has been sold to a Fall River real estate investor for $13.6 million, just as the Town considers making the parcel part of its effort to comply with the MBTA Communities zoning law.

A Shrewsbury shopping plaza, which is the former site of a Christmas Tree Shops store, has been sold for $13.6 million, as the Town of Shrewsbury considers making the parcel part of its effort to pass multifamily zoning to comply with the Massachusetts MBTA Communities Law. 

The 9.1-acre Olde Shrewsbury Village plaza, located at 1000 Boston Turnpike, was sold in a deal finalized on Monday, according to Worcester District Registry of Deeds records. The entity purchasing the property, 1000 Boston Turnpike LLC, is managed by Zi Qian Zhang, according to Secretary of the Commonwealth records. 

Zhang is the owner of JZ Real Estate in Fall River. He has opened a number of restaurants and owns 20 trampoline parks across the East Coast, according to his website.

The plaza was sold by Shrewsbury Village Limited Partnership, a Yarmouth-based entity operated by the family of Charles Bilezikian, the late co-founder of the Christmas Tree Shops retail chain. 

The Olde Shrewsbury Village parcel makes up a large component of a proposed zoning overlay under consideration by the Town to allow it to comply with the state’s MBTA Communities Law. This requirement, signed into law by then Gov. Charlie Baker in January 2021, requires municipalities served by the MBTA Commuter Rail to create at least one district of reasonable size where multifamily zoning is permitted by right. 

A draft of the zoning ordinance was discussed at a Shrewsbury Planning Board meeting on March 7, with the intent of putting the ordinance in front of representatives during a Town Meeting in May. If Shrewsbury fails to comply with the law by the end of the year, it could become ineligible to receive over $4.8 million in state grants, according to a presentation given during the Planning Board meeting. 

The Christmas Tree Shops located in the plaza closed in August, following the company’s bankruptcy. A number of stores continue to operate in the plaza, including Uptowne Mediterranean Restaurant, JOANN Fabric and Crafts, and American Freight, a discount retailer of furniture and appliances, according to Google listings.

The plaza was constructed in 1986 and contains 11 separate retail spaces totaling 162,015 square feet, according to Town of Shrewsbury property records. The Town gave the property a tax assessment value of $15.9 million in 2024. 

Whitney Gallivan, Joe Wagner, Kevin Benzinger, and Nick Herz of Boston Realty Advisors represented the seller in this transaction, according to Traded Boston, a website tracking real estate transactions.  

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