Community Spotlight – Peabody, Massachusetts

April 11, 2023 6:29 am

The North Shore Alliance for Economic Development serves 30 communities, including four Gateway Cities, and brings their leaders together to explore and take action on economic development issues that can help grow the region, including those that advance the Commonwealth as a whole.

Over the course of the next few months, we will explore and get to know better these 30 communities that make up the North Shore region of Massachusetts. We hope our readers will learn more about the unique benefits each community brings to their residents and visitors and how collectively they strengthen our regional economy.

Peabody – We Make It Work For You!

Founded in 1692 initially as a part of Salem, Massachusetts, Peabody was once known as the leather capital of the world. Today, the City of Peabody is known as an affordable and desirable place to live, play, shop, dine and do business. This diversely populated city owns and operates a golf course, two working farms, and a Children’s Museum. It has one of the lowest tax rates in Essex County and the lowest electrical rates in all of Massachusetts. Peabody’s access to major highways that connect to northern New England states and the Boston Metro area is a geographical asset for this community. The City is approximately 16.81 square miles and has a population of 54,481 according to the 2020 U.S. Census.

Peabody has been designated one of 26 Gateway City by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Defined as midsize urban centers that anchor regional economies around the state, Gateway Cities have populations greater than 35,000 and less than 250,000, median household income below the state average, and rate of educational attainment of a bachelor’s degree or above that is below the state average. Peabody, like all Gateway Cities, are essential to the economic health of the region and Commonwealth. Peabody’s historic architecture, transportation connections, cultural organizations, healthcare facilities, and diversity make it a stand-out Gateway City.

Economic Strengths &  Development Projects in Peabody

The North Shore Mall has been a fixture on the North Shore since 1958 when it first opened and remains one of the largest businesses and employers in the region. The Mall has been a partner with the City for several decades and they work closely on a variety of projects. The Mall’s recent renovations have attracted new businesses and transformed it into a destination for shopping, dining, and recreational activities.

The North Shore Children’s Museum is one of the newest downtown businesses. Owned by the City of Peabody, the new museum opened on October 15, 2022, and features 14 exhibit spaces, a party room for rent, workshops, a gift shop, and much more.  It and so many other new downtown businesses have breathed new life into the downtown.

Peabody has become a dining destination both in the downtown, North Shore Mall area, and beyond. Its newest restaurant, Toscana Forno, opened in South Peabody in February and is the third location for Toscana’s Restaurant owners. A new boutique and restaurant will soon be opening at the newly renovated O’Shea Mansion located at 2 Washington Street making the downtown area even more appealing to visitors.

Peabody has been working closely with residential developers on new housing projects including the transformation of Mills 58. It is also focusing on its three business parks which are constantly changing. Centennial Business Park has development sites that have drawn a great deal of interest and the City of Peabody is working with property owners on developing those sites. Peabody is also focusing on their two commercial corridors along Route 1 and 114.

Economic Forecast

Peabody has always had a strong economic foundation. The natural location of the City has allowed it to maintain constant and level growth of commercial activity. With Peabody’s thriving downtown renewal and the growth of businesses city-wide, the future looks very bright for Peabody. Both large, mid-size, and small-scale projects keep Peabody moving forward.

Peabody Town HallPoints of Interest and Events

Peabody, like its surrounding neighbors, has lots to offer in the way of activities, places to visit, and events throughout the year. Just a few of the points of interest that visitors should be aware of include the North Shore Mall, Peabody Square, Brooksby Farm, Tillie’s Farm, Independence Greenway, Meadows Golf Course, and downtown Peabody. The International Festival is Peabody’s signature annual event.

The North Shore Mall’s recent renovations have attracted new businesses and transformed it into a destination for shopping, dining, and recreational activities. It has over 140+ stores and many dining options in its two-level mall located at the intersection of Route 128 and 114 in Peabody. It attracts visitors from Peabody, greater Boston, and the North Shore region and states north of Massachusetts.  

Peabody Square, ​​at the busy intersection of Central, Lowell, Main, and Foster Streets, is now more welcoming to pedestrians as evident in the transformation of downtown into a vibrant community hub with a wide assortment of restaurants, bars, coffee shops, and a children’s museum and bowling alley.

The Northshore Children’s Museum, located downtown, is one of Peabody’s newest and increasingly popular attractions. Owned by the City of Peabody, it features hands-on exhibits that provide a fun and enriching learning experience for children ages 2-8 and serves children from Northeast Massachusetts and beyond. It has been featured on WCVB Channel 5 and other media outlets.

The City of Peabody owns two working farms, Brooksby Farm is a working fruit and vegetable farm that welcomes the public from spring to fall. The farm offers pick-your-own fruits and veggies, a bakery, and a fully stocked farm stand! Tillie’s Farm has been a growing community since 1940. The main mission of Tillie’s is to grow and provide local, healthy, and seasonal produce using sustainable farming practices with a focus on education for community members, youth, and vocational training.

The Independence Greenway is a 5.3-mile rail trail on the corridor for the former Salem and Lowell Railroad, which opened in 1850 and was taken over by the Boston and Maine Railroad in It is a great place to run, walk, ride a bike, and explore nature, ponds, and public spaces like Lt. Ross Park where you can take a break.

Peabody’s signature event is its International Festival. Held in September, it is Peabody’s largest event and draws tens of thousands of people every year to the downtown in September to listen to music, taste ethnic dishes, and view north shore artists. The International Festival has been a celebration of culture and diversity in Peabody for close to 40 years.

Independence Greenway

Economic Resources in Peabody

There are several resources for new and existing businesses to find support as they start or grow. The Office of Community Development has been the direct City of Peabody office to assist small and growing businesses in Peabody. The City of Peabody works closely with the Peabody Area Chamber of Commerce to support Peabody area businesses.

Major Strengths of the Community

The City of Peabody is a gateway to the North Shore and prides itself on being welcoming to all its residents, visitors, and businesses. Diversity, culture, and affordability are what make Peabody is a unique and wonderful place to live, work and visit.

Why Choose to Live or Do Business in Peabody?

Peabody offers so much to people who work, live, and play in the City. In addition to being 5-10 minutes from so many places, it also offers open space and recreation, major employment centers, and is easily accessible. The City of Peabody staff are responsive and helpful to citizens and businesses alike. Peabody is proud to be a Gateway City to the North Shore.

Public Transportation & Navigating Peabody

Logan Express is located in Peabody and is a convenient way to travel to and from Logan Airport. Peabody also offers two MBTA bus routes that travel in and out of Peabody, and connect to Salem and Lynn. Peabody is a few short minutes from three different MBTA Commuter Rail stations. Peabody is at the heart of the North Shore and is easily accessible to several major highways including Routes 128/95, Route 1, and 114.

Contact Peabody, Massachusetts

Curt Bellavance Director,

Community Development & Planning
Peabody City Hall

24 Lowell Street

Peabody, MA



The North Shore Alliance For Economic Development Community Page is also a source of information regarding economic development sites within the North Shore communities.