News Updates: February 2005
from the month of February 2005 are listed below.
to acquire May for $11 billion
Written by Justin on February 28, 2005 at 5:36PM
- Federated Department Stores,
owner of Macy's, will be acquiring May Department Stores, owner of
Filene's, Lord & Taylor, and for that matter David's Bridal, in a
long anticipated deal worth $11 billion. Here's the scoop at the
- Federated is promising no
division changes and store closures before 2006.
- There are 94 malls nationally
where the two both operate stores, including the Natick Mall.
Lord & Taylor, along with
Chicago-based Marshall Field's, both May stores, are expected to be
untouched by the merger.
- Federated is considering
converting some of competing stores into Macy's Home & Furniture
stores, if this happens it could spell the end of the Macy's Furniture
Gallery over at Shopper's World.
- No word yet on whether
Boston-based Filene's/Kaufmann's, the May division that operates
Filene's and Pittsburgh, PA-area Kaufmann's, will live or will be
relocated to Federated headquarters in Cincinnati (Gillette deja-vu?).
- Framingham/Natick Retail will
continue to search out the latest news on what the merger means for the
Natick Mall, and to that extent, the Natick Mall expansion. If
Nordstrom can't get in before 2007, will they go to another mall with a
soon to be vacated Filene's?
appeals Natick Mall Expansion, but will it matter?
Written by Justin on February 26, 2005 at 11:42PM
- It's official: May Department
Stores, the owner of both Filene's and Lord and Taylor, has appealed
the Natick Mall Expansion. The company cited the same problems at
Macy's: parking, pedestrian safety, ad and traffic. However, May's
situation is rather different, as they own the Filene's building at the
mall, and lease the Lord and Taylor building. As they own part of the
mall, their rights are somewhat different, remarked a May attorney.
This puts 3 of the mall's 4 anchors against the project, and although
Sears clearly has no competition in the expansion, could they appeal
soon as well?.The MWDN story is online http://www.metrowestdailynews.com/localRegional/view.bg?articleid=91596.
- However, it appears that
Federated could soon be acquiring May, as it has appeared for the past
month. However, this weekend both parties are said to be deliberating a
final purchase price that could finalize the expected merger. But where
does this leave the mall? If the companies merge, Filene's is expected
to take on the Macy's name, but seeing that Macy's is already at the
mall, where does this leave Filene's and Lord and Taylor. It's possible
that Macy's could move to the less attractive Filene's building as it
is owned vs. leased; and Lord and Taylor may become Bloomingdales,
although that chain might be left alone through the merger. Could the
mall be left with two vacant anchors, both that could possibly hold
Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom? In a somewhat related story, the Chicago
Sun-Times is speculating that Marshall Field's, May's popular
midwestern department store, could be transformed into an ultra-luxury
department store that could compete with Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom.
Could this possible chain move into the Natick Mall should Filene's or
Lord and Taylor close? The Sun-Times story is online at http://www.suntimes.com/output/business/cst-fin-fields26.html,
and the Boston Globe has a story regarding the merger itself at http://www.boston.com/business/articles/2005/02/25/report_may_federated_talks_reach_critical_point/.
Lowe's Approved! / GGP visits Framingham Planning Board
Written by Justin on February 24, 2005 at 7:38PM
and Neiman's to Depart?
- The proposed Framingham Lowe's
store was approved at the Planning Board meeting of February 22,
although the final permits were granted at 12:04AM on February 23,
2005. Other than some grammatical changes to the 11-page site plan for
approval, and a debate from Carol Spack about whether the town's legal
consultant should look at the agreement between Target and Lowe's
regarding usage of the truck usage of the road behind Target. Other
members, however, did not see this as necessary, as access of the road
is a condition for the occupancy permit. Demolition of the Verizon
building should begin soon, with an opening in 11 months. The MWDN
reports on the store in two different articles, http://www.metrowestdailynews.com/localRegional/view.bg?articleid=91421
and a better story at http://www.metrowestdailynews.com/localRegional/view.bg?articleid=91475.
- Additionally, GGP/Natick Mall
representatives visited the Framingham Planning Board to share the
latest mall plans, and the board seemed overall satisfied. However,
they did voice concerns on more pedestrian friendly features that were
in the first version of the mall. However, little was spoken about the
Planning Board's appeal of the mall project. The story is online at http://www.metrowestdailynews.com/localRegional/view.bg?articleid=91421.
Written by Justin on February 24, 2005 at 7:28PM
- In a new MWDN article about
last night's Natick Planning Board meeting, a mall representative
stated that if the project did was not approved within the next 45
days, the project would not be opening in 2007. Nordstrom and Neiman
Marcus were expecting the mall to open in 2007, and if the project is
not on track for opening in 2007, the two stores are free to boot the
project and go to another retail project that will be done quicker. But
it's not looking good for the plans either, one person stated while the
appealed plan was of A quality, the current plan is more of a B- or C+.
If these two stores don't move in, then what will it be? Saks Fifth
Avenue and a J.C. Penney? We'll see. The story, as usual, is online at http://www.metrowestdailynews.com/localRegional/view.bg?articleid=91523.
Framingham Planning Board:
Lowe's and Natick Mall Tomorrow
Written by Justin on February 21, 2005 at 1:30PM
- The expected approval for the
Framingham Lowe's store will be tomorrow night at 10:00PM on Goverment
Access Television in Framingham (Channel 10 on Comcast, Channel 13 on
RCN, and online at framinghamma.gov.
Additionally, the Natick Mall will be making a special appearance to
the Planning Board at 8:15PM. Could the Framingham Planning Board drop
it's appeal of the project with the promised traffic improvements? We
- Oh yeah, and the La-Z-Boy
Furniture Gallery officially opened at Natick Promenade on February 18,
completing Phase I of that project.
Lowe's of Framingham: How
Written by Justin on February 17, 2005 at 5:13PM
- The Framingham Lowe's is really
getting close to the approval, and although voting was mentioned
several times during the meeting, so many changes were made during the
Tuesday night hearing that the board decided to wait on voting before
the hearing adjourned at 12:15AM. Almost all of the issues of the store
were disputed, but it seems that it should be coming the fruition next
Tuesday, and there seems to be no reason that it would not be.
- Several items on the itinerary
were disputed, one of them being whether pole-arms or mast-arms should
be used for the Rte. 30/Beacon St. intersection near KFC. Style and
cost of the fixture were disputed. Larry LaPere was disappointed that
the store's landscaping would have to be in place before the store
could be stocked, with the quote "We have to be done 60 days before
we're done", but to no avail. Finally, some members were unclear about
the legalities of the North/South Connector Rd and Lowe's usage of the
access road behind Target, and wanted the town's lawyer to look at the
agreement. It is not clear whether this will be happening or not.
Anyhow, two stories are online: http://www.metrowestdailynews.com/localRegional/view.bg?articleid=90923
and the slightly earlier (by a day) story at http://www.metrowestdailynews.com/localRegional/view.bg?articleid=90829.
- Oh yeah, and a jeers to
Government Access Television for showing the uberboring Comcast Cable
Hearing for a few hours, joining the far more important Lowe's meeting
in progress around 10:00PM.
Natick Mall asks for special
Written by Justin on February 17, 2005 at 4:53PM
- The Natick Mall is requesting a
special warrant that would allow construction to proceed at an
under-construction Natick Mall Expansion while legal battles are
undergone. This would allow the mall to get opened earlier as there
would be a good two years before occupancy permits are issued; time
that would be used to negotiate mitigation and the like. The permit
would be used only if the mall is not approved before April 12, the
start of Natick's annual Town Meeting. The corresponding MetroWest
Daily News story can be seen online at http://www.metrowestdailynews.com/localRegional/view.bg?articleid=90892
Natick Mall to house one
more July 4th fireworks ceremony
Written by Justin on February 17, 2005 at 4:48PM
- According to a recent MWDN
story, the Natick Mall will be to home to one more fireworks ceremony,
as nothing is really happening at the moment with the Wonder Bread
site. But seeing that the fireworks are in early July, does that mean
that essentially nothing will be happening at the site even in July?
Nevertheless, the mall will be putting $20,000 toward the fireworks.
The story is online at http://www.metrowestdailynews.com/localRegional/view.bg?articleid=90720
Natick Mall Expansion
considers overhead bridge
Written by Justin on February 10, 2005 at 7:15PM
- News at the Natick Mall
expansion: the mall has officially decided that they want to construct
an enclosed pedestrian bridge across Flutie Pass after many were
concerned about cars needing to drive from one mall to the other, and
also pedestrian safety. The walkway would go straight out of the new
mall and end at a spot in between Macy's and Parking Garage B, and
likely connecting to both of there. This all ties into the mall's case
with Macy's as well: with a direct connection to the store, it would
seem that Macy's can't really complain about safety, can they?
Additionally, the article states that Nolan Brothers, who owns the
adjacent self-storage facility, has dropped it's appeal of the project,
and that the Framingham Planning Board will be dropping it's appeal
once General Growth finalizes an agreement for road improvements for
Framingham, and will also be visiting the Planning Board later this
month to discuss the newest plans for the mall. With all other appeals
satisfied, it would seem that the project is ready to get under
construction soon! The corresponding MWDN story is onlines at http://www.metrowestdailynews.com/localRegional/view.bg?articleid=90262,
and in today's newspaper there were also floorplans of the project,
which will soon be added to the site.
Old Connecticut Path Stop
& Shop under renovations
Written by Justin on February 10, 2005 at 6:24PM
- The Framingham Super Stop &
Shop on Old Connecticut Path is currently undergoing renovations.
According to a project representative at the Planning Board meeting on
January 26, the store will be getting significant changes, including
the move of the bottle return room from the right side of the store to
the left side of the store. This move enables the store to move it's
bakery to the other side of the store where the floral department is
now. Temporarily, the bottle machines are housed on the side of the
Citizens Bank (in the store). The renovation also includes moving some
aisles around, and evident today, the soda aisle has been relocated and
now soda and chips can be found in adjacent aisles. In the back of the
store, the butcher shop area appears to be under renovation as a large
part of it is boarded off. Also, at the front of the store, the large
displays have been moved away from the right entrance area, the wall
appears to be in the process of being painted over, as you can no
longer see the funky 70's-style "Welcome to Stop & Shop". The store
has only been under construction for a week or two, so I'll keep you
- Additionally, I believe the
Citizens Bank at the plaza closes on February 15, however, the in-store
location will remain open.
Framingham Lowe's Nears
Approval/Area Retail Changes
Written by Justin on February 9, 2005 at 5:56PM
- The Framingham Lowe's is moving
closer to construction, and an approval is expected next week. At last
night's meeting of the Framingham Planning Board, most discussion
focused upon a list of items and finalizing many of them. In a story
today in the MWDN, it is reported that a vote on the project is
expected to occur after next meeting.
- Some of the concerns of
Planning Board members included Lowe's delivery times. The Planning
Board wanted to instate a maximum of trucks to enter the property
during peak hours due to expected backups on Rte. 30. Lowe's, however,
did not want to be bound to these restrictions. Lowe's site development
manager Larry LaPere stated that he was only fine with a restriction if
the other Golden Triangle stores were bound to it as well, attorney
Paul Galvini tried to back him up by turning down all remarks about
traffic jams at the corner of Whitter St. and Rte. 30. Nevertheless, it
appears that the project is really starting to come together.
- There were also still a few
concerns on the site plan itself. Andrea Carr-Evans was concerned that
were Target to close, would Lowe's trucks still be allowed to use the
road behind the store? The answer to that question was given, but as
she wanted proof, a statement from Target's lawyers in Minneapolis, as
the Framingham Mall property is owned and operated by Target (on the
deed it is actually Dayton-Hudson Corporation). Finally, one of the
members heartfully requested that the Lowe's team take some pictures of
the interior and exterior of the Verizon building before it is
officially demolished, to which Lowe's easily agreed. There was lots of
other stuff too, but it's probably not worth mentioning. The MWDN story
is online at http://www.metrowestdailynews.com/localRegional/view.bg?articleid=90187.
- Looking at Route 9 lately, the
Decathlon store in Natick is now entirely demolished, the project
really coming along quickly. Across the street, the future Container
Store is clearly under construction, according to their website
it opens April 9, 2005, but they still have a lot of work to get done
seeing that the building is currently in shambles; it should look much
better after renovations, though. At 1398 Worcester Rd, construction is
complete on the La-Z-Boy Furniture Gallery store, but I'm not sure
whether it is open or not. Finally, the future Bob's Discount Furniture
is hiring according to mybobs.com,
their website, but it doesn't appear that they are doing any
significant renovations. They must want to keep the overhead low, but
even so, from the street it still looks like an abandoned Circuit City.
Copyright 2005 Framingham/Natick Retail and Tardiff.net. All Rights