Scoop: Suffolk Punch is adding a taproom and beer garden at a revamped plaza at SouthPark mall

Scoop: Suffolk Punch is adding a taproom and beer garden at a revamped plaza at SouthPark mall
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Suffolk Punch, the brewery that opened in 2017 and quickly became one of the most popular hangouts in South End, is expanding into SouthPark.

What’s happening: The new indoor-outdoor facility will anchor a freshly renovated part of the mall, at the West Plaza where California Pizza Kitchen is (near Dick’s).

  • Mall owner Simon Property Group is overseeing the broader revamp: It will also include a makeover of the kids’ play area outside (with the installation of new equipment and new artificial turf), plus the addition of an open-air stage adjacent to Suffolk.

The SouthPark development will be a family-friendly spot, one where parents can sip on craft beer while watching their kids play on the playground and listening to live music, says Collin Ricks, co-founder and principal of the Durban Group, the developer/owner of Suffolk Punch.

Why it matters: Opening at SouthPark is a way for Suffolk to expand to a new customer base.

Also, it aims to be a major attraction for SouthPark at a time when mall operators have been increasingly looking for new ways outside of traditional retail to drum up foot traffic.

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What to expect: Durban is turning the interior of the old CPK spot into a taproom. It’ll have an aesthetic reminiscent of the brewery’s South End location, complete with hanging plants, spacious booths and an open kitchen.

  • Additionally, Durban is taking over about 1,500 square feet of space from mall’s dining pavilion, transforming it into an attached coffee/espresso bar.
  • Roll-up garage doors will open up to a beer garden/enclosed patio that’ll be filled with long tables and flat-screen TVs. There’ll also be a room at the front that customers can reserve as a private event space.
  • The new taproom will have 20+ craft beers, cocktails, seltzers and wine, along with a full food menu. There’ll also be a pickup area for takeout orders on the lower level, accessible via an elevator and the parking deck.
  • All told, the new Suffolk Punch will be about 6,500 square feet.

Suffolk Punch at SouthPark (courtesy of Simon Property Group)

The new SouthPark location will have a similar vibe to the South End location, says Durban COO Seth Stidham.

“Come here any given Saturday at 1’clock and you’re going to see a lot of families, a lot of dogs running around. This opportunity really threads the needle for us because it’s all those things,” Stidham tells Axios.

Zoom out: SouthPark is one of Simon’s premier shopping centers, one of the most successful in terms of sales. Still, this redevelopment is an attempt to make the mall more of a destination.

  • When California Pizza Kitchen filed for bankruptcy, Simon saw the restaurant’s SouthPark space as an opportunity to refresh its tenant mix, says Laura Schwartz, Simon’s regional VP of leasing.

“We had plans before the pandemic to redo the West Plaza, redevelop it (and) invest several million dollars in making a green space because that’s something this property was really lacking,” Schwartz tells Axios.

  • “Going forward, not just at SouthPark but in general for our company, we are trying to diversify our offerings and bring in entertainment, restaurant, nontraditional uses and make this not just a shopping destination but a work, live, play, stay opportunity,” she adds.
  • Mall operators throughout the country have gotten creative with alternative uses for their properties — especially the big department stores that used to anchor them. A few new uses include grocery stores, offices and apartments.

What’s more, Simon and Durban leaders say, customers will be able to rent space throughout the indoor-outdoor campus for various private events, providing a fresh revenue stream for both groups.

  • This could mean private parties, corporate functions and even weddings.

The West Plaza redevelopment, Schwartz adds, jibes with Simon’s plans to make SouthPark more walkable.

Timeline: Construction on the West Plaza project will begin in early 2022. Suffolk Punch will open sometime in late summer/early fall.

Durban is partnering with the following groups on the project’s design: LandDesign, Cluck Design, Bartlett Hartley and Mulkey Architects.

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