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Museum Of Illusions Signs Lease To Open Next To Faneuil Hall

Boston Retail
Marketplace Center, a retail building next to Faneuil Hall owned by Gazit Horizons.

An optical illusions museum with locations around the world plans to open its first New England location in a property next to Boston's iconic Faneuil Hall.

The Museum of Illusions signed a 9K SF lease at Marketplace Center and expects to open later this year, according to a press release from landlord Gazit Horizons

Miami-based Gazit acquired the 62K SF retail building in 2019 for $82M, NEREJ reported. In the years after the start of the pandemic, Marketplace Center and the adjacent Faneuil Hall Marketplace have faced challenges.

In 2020, Gazit sued retail chain Ann Taylor  for nearly $254K in missed rent over three months, Universal Hub reported. Banana Republic and Gap have vacated their space as part of a wave of store closures.

In 2021, Gazit proposed a 120K SF "vertical office addition" on top of the marketplace in an effort to revitalize the building, the Boston Business Journal reported, but no plans have moved forward since.

The museum will feature a series of exhibits it touts as "Instagrammable," with immersive illusions and educational programming. The European entertainment group has 40 locations across 25 countries including D.C., New York and Chicago.

“Museum of Illusions will bring a world-class entertainment experience to residents of greater Boston and the more than 18 million visitors frequenting this iconic location each year and create a new compelling reason for Bostonians to visit,” Gazit Horizons CEO Zvi Gordon said in the release. 

There has also been renewed activity at the neighboring Faneuil Hall Marketplace after longtime landlord Ashkenazy Acquisition Corp. sold its ground lease for the property to J. Safra Group last month. Askenazy had faced criticism for years from merchants and city leaders over its management of the iconic marketplace.