from the month of April 2005 are listed below.
Mall sewer proposal approved
Written by Justin on April 24, 2005 at 11:26PM
- The Natick Mall topped the
front of the MWDN today with the approval of it's application to change
sewer systems. Since it's opening in 1994, everything from the water in
your Orange Julius to washing your hands in the mall's restrooms have
utilized Framingham's sewer and water systems, but that's about to
change. The main reason that it's hooked up to Framingham is due to the
fact that the Natick system cannot handle such a large amount of
resources. With the expansion of the mall, it was made mandatory that
the mall switch over to Natick as Framingham likely could not handle
the expanded mall. So, the GGP is paying to upgrade the Speen Street
sewer system in order to hook up their developments. Framingham is not
upset about the changes, however; the Framingham DPW director sounded
happy that the mall was hooking up to Natick as the mall's system is
more work than is the minimal profits it brings in. The mall should be
switched over by the end of 2005, with the expansion joining in 2007.
The MWDN's story is online at http://www.metrowestdailynews.com/localRegional/view.bg?articleid=96834.
a Marshall Field's be in the Natick Mall's future?
Written by Justin on April 17, 2005 at 1:31AM
- I recently heard from a May
employee that their Filene's store, in a high density mall that already
has a Macy's and a Filene's Men's and Home Store, is rumored to be
replaced by possibly a Bloomingdales or by a Marshall Field's. No one
knows for sure, but the fact that Marshall Field's is in there was a
surprise to me, and a good one at that. To those who don't know,
Marshall Field's is May's store in the midwestern states, acquired from
Target Corp. last year. It's a retailer with a huge legacy (actually 3,
Target merged Dayton's, Hudson's and Marshall Field's into just
Marshall Fields in 2001). Although it's suburban stores are equivalent
to a Filene's with Frango mints, it's downtown stores are amazing.
There's just no way to describe Marshall Field's State Street store in
- There seems to be growing
speculation, though, that the combined May/Federated will turn Marshall
Field's into an upscale, nationwide chain amongst the likes of Saks
Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus. Additionally, suspicion is also growing
that Federated will kill the ailing Lord & Taylor department store
chain, a division that is set to bring down the new company. Also, it's
pretty much a given that one store will close at the Natick Mall. Could
Macy's stay as it is, Filene's become a Marshall Field's, and Lord
& Taylor become, perhaps, a Saks Fifth Avenue? The Chicago
Sun-Times tells more about Marshall Field's role in the new company at http://www.suntimes.com/output/business/cst-fin-fields18.html.
developments going on in MetroWest
Written by Justin on April 17, 2005 at 12:42AM
- Absolutely nothing is going on
in the Golden Triangle at the moment, so I thought that I could take a
post to mention other ongoing projects in MetroWest. One of these is
over at one of the "points" of the Golden Triangle; the former Mr.
Billiards building. The owner of Mr. Billiards decided to retire once
the owner of the building announced a big increase in the rent. There's
a lot of construction equipment over there at the moment, converting
the building into a Shields MRI center. The new facility is slated to
open later this Spring.
- Continuing west, the Herb
Connolly dealerships are switching around some of their franchises. The
building on Route 9 that currently houses Hyundai, Acura and Chevrolet
has lost the Hyundai unit of business, which has moved to the former
Natick Ford dealership on Rte.. 135 in Natick. Herb Connolly currently
houses Mitsubishi there, and with Hyundai there, the dealerships become
much more spaced out. One would wonder if a facelift at the Rte. 9
facility is on the way: It definately needs it.
- Further west on Rte. 9, nothing
is yet happening at the former Athenian Restaurant that is slated to
become a Dunkin Donuts. Additionally, Marconi's on 9, in the building
that has formerly housed Not Your Average Joe's, the Cosmopolitan
Grill, and ton of other restaurants, has closed as well. Over at the
Framingham Industrial Park, Genzyme seems to be in just about every
building on New York Avenue. Perhaps they might take off the former
Frugal Fannie's signage soon?
- Heading west on Rte. 9 into
Natick, a Hertz Car Rental is proposed at one of the former gas
stations near the Oak St. jughandle, and it has met with a lot of
neighborhood opposition. Enterprise certainly has the dominance around
here for car rentals (for when cars need body work, etc.), and Hertz
has no presence other than a small Local Edition near the Trader Joe's
in Framingham. Other than that, nothing big seems to be happening else
where in Natick.
- And that's it. As always, if
you've got any comments on the site, whether problems with the layout
or whether you have memories of the past, drop me a line with the
feedback link on the side of the page. Anyone using the RSS feed?
Mall Expansion in the clear, construction to start soon
Written by Justin on April 8, 2005 at 8:09PM
- As no one appealed the latest
incarnation of the Natick Mall Expansion before the Tuesday deadline,
General Growth Properties is now clear to begin construction on the
395,000 sq. ft. Natick Mall expansion with restaurants, retail, Neiman
Marcus and Nordstrom. The expansion will be connected to the existing
mall through a walkway to Macy's and Parking Garage B, and the
expansion will also have it's own parking areas, Parking Deck D,
located in front of Nordstrom, and underground Parking Deck E, located
nearest to Macy's. GGP has not yet chosen a construction company for
the new addition, but they are planning to get construction underway by
July in order to proceed with a grand opening set for Fall 2007, before
the holiday season rush. No word on how construction in July would
affect the July 4th fireworks that GGP promised for another year,
however. What is probably the last big construction project in area
development is about to get started. The corresponding MWDN story is
online at http://www.metrowestdailynews.com/localRegional/view.bg?articleid=95208.
Discount Furniture/The Container Store grand openings
Written by Justin on April 8, 2005 at 8:05PM
- If you've seen any Bob's
Discount Furniture ads today, they are all claiming the grand opening
of the new Bob's store in the former Circuit City, which opened
yesterday, April 7th. I haven't seen the building within the last week,
but they must have certainly finished painting the building. It doesn't
look that great, but I hear that the prices inside the store make up
for the poor exteriors.
- And another grand opening will
occur this weekend. The Container Store, which has been under
construction for quite some time in the former The Disney Store/Just
For Feet next to the Natick Mall, will be opening tomorrow, April 9th.
The company has been advertising the new location, and I'd expect it to
be very busy for the grand opening weekend. To me, though, it appears
to be IKEA-style storage components at extravagant prices. We'll see
how it does.
settles Natick Mall appeal for $1.04 million
Written by Justin on April 2, 2005 at 8:23PM
- General Growth Properties has
settled with the Town of Framingham's appeal of the project for
$1,040,000 dollars. $300,000 of the money is slated for signals and
traffic concerns, along with $100,000 for LIFT bus service, $200,000
for Rail Trail construction, and $300,000 to purchase open space. The
mall's lawyer states that the mall is satisfied with the payment, as
they has originally viewed Natick as the place all improvements would
have to be made (yet forgetting that Framingham nearly borders the
property). If nobody appeals the mall before Tuesday, April 5th at
5:00PM EST, then the mall will be essentially approved for Phase I.
Even if the mall does get appealed, the Natick Town Meeting is looking
at an article that would allow the mall to be constructed while
legalities are negotiated; Town Meeting occurs later this month. The
MWDN reports at http://www.metrowestdailynews.com/localRegional/view.bg?articleid=94708.
and 23-story apartment building proposed for Wonder Bread site
Written by Justin on April 1, 2005 at 8:38PM
- The MWDN reported today that
the Natick Mall owners are giving up on their hopes for a mall
expansion, and have submitted plans for a 360,000 sq. ft. store. Slated
to be one of IKEA's largest, it will be attached to a 23-story
apartment complex, topped by an observation deck looking down on the
Golden Triangle, along with a rotating Papa Gino's on the top. A
spokesperson for General Growth stated, "The other anchors, and the
Town of Natick just are holding up the luxury expansion. We think that
the IKEA will be better looking anyway". The IKEA will be designed as a
giant blue box as all other IKEA stores, but will also impliment
colonial-style features to mix in with the very New England-like
centers nearby. IKEA won out the lease for the site over Wal-Mart
Supercenter, Bass Pro Shops, The Great Indoors, and a PETsMART
distribution center. The project is expected to be introduced and
approved at the next meeting of the Natick Planning Board, and will
likely open by Fall 2006, with the apartments slated for completion in
2012. The story's online at http://www.metrowestdailynews.com/localRegional/view.bg?articleid=8675309
- And of course, happy April
Fools Day from Framingham/Natick Retail!
Mall Expansion approved, appeals process nearing end
Written by Justin on April 1, 2005 at 8:38PM
- Unfortunately, there have been
some delays updating the site lately. However, the latest incarnation
of the Natick Mall Expansion, the so-called Phase I that includes the
retail portion of the expansion, was approved by the Natick Planning
Board on March 14th. Today, the MetroWest Daily News reported that, so
far, nobody has appealed the new expansion. Apparently all appeals in
existance are on the old plans. Therefore, if nobody appeals the plans
by Tuesday, April 5th, then the mall will be in the clear to begin
construction on Phase I. Apparently the mall is nearing the end of
negotiations with the Framingham Planning Board and Nolan Brothers, and
for some reason Macy's and May have no complaints with the new plans.
Could it have to do with the May/Federated Merger, and the fact that
there will be a walkway connecting Macy's to the expansion, citing
their past safety complaints? Two stories are online about the
approval: the MDWN describes at http://www.metrowestdailynews.com/localRegional/view.bg?articleid=93170,
and the Globe at http://www.boston.com/business/articles/2005/03/17/board_oks_malls_300m_100_store_addition/.
Today's story about the lack of appeals is online at http://www.metrowestdailynews.com/localRegional/view.bg?articleid=94610.
- Additionally, a new store has
opened at the mall. It's "The Ball Store". Seriously, a kiosk that
sells nothing but balls. The Weston Town Crier reports on it at http://www2.townonline.com/weston/businessNews/view.bg?articleid=213967.
Discount Furniture to open soon
Written by Justin on April 1, 2005 at 7:33PM
And that's it! As always, be
sure to send me your comments, corrections and memories through the feedback box. Thanks!
- The official website for Bob's
Discount Furniture, mybobs.com,
reporting that the new Natick store will be opening on April 7th. Most
recently, I've seen that although the building is still in the shape of
Circuit City, at least it has been painted white. The new store will,
like all Bob's stores, have an in-store cafe offering complimentary
refreshments. Bob has also been promoting the new store on
advertisements shown on Boston-area TV stations.
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