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News Updates: November 2006

All updates from the month of November 2006 are listed below.

Natick announces retailers to be part of luxury expansion
Written by Justin on November 17, 2006 at 3:38PM
  • The grand re-opening of Natick was marked with stories, memories, and the promise to transform the MetroWest shopping experience. But despite excellent remarks from Natick General Manager Frank Lazorchak, General Growth CEO John Bucksbaum, Natick Town Administrator Phil Lemnios, and General Growth Vice PResident of Asset Management Michael McNaughton, the highlight of the ceremony was easily the announcement of numerous retailers that are set to become part of the mall's expansion when it opens on September 7, 2007.
  • In addition to Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom, the mall's expansion will also house Louis Vuitton, BCBG, Stil, a relocated Coach store, Lacoste, Oakley, The North Face, J. Crew, Zara, Johnston & Murphy, Martin + Osa, and Teavana. Restaurants are slated to include Metropolitan Bar & Grill, Sel de la Terre, a yet-to-be named Legal Sea Foods concept, and Finale Dessert.
  • Further, a top-level source at the event confirmed that both the strongly rumored P.F. Chang's China Bistro and The Cheesecake Factory, as well as a Starbucks Coffee, will be part of the project.
  • There is a new page available with photos of the event, it can be found here.
Natick gets ready for grand re-opening celebration tomorrow
Written by Justin on November 16, 2006 at 5:13PM
  • The Natick Mall will celebrate its "grand reopening" tomorrow after months of work to improve the existing mall and prepare it for a 550,000 sq. ft. expansion that will open next fall.
  • The entire weekend will be filled with events commemorating the renovations. At 9:45 a.m., a holiday fashion show will lead into a press conference about both the renovations and the mall's expansion slated to open on September 7, 2007. The press conference will also feature several announcements of retailers that will become part of the new wing. Around lunchtime, Lord & Taylor will provide mini-makeovers in the mall's center court, where the expansion will soon connect to the rest of the mall. As the evening progresses, at 6:30 p.m. Santa will lead a procession to his new home; at 6:45 p.m., one of the children in the procession will flip the switch and light up the mall's tree. On Saturday, the mall will hold a ceremony for families in the food court from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., at which balloon twisters, a magician, and life-size nutcrackers will be in attendance. On Sunday night, the annual "Festival of Giving" will provide shoppers with discounts, food, caroling, and other entertainment while supporting local charities.
  • Check back tomorrow night for information on how the big morning ceremony turned out!
New Bloomingdale's opens at Chestnut Hill
Written by Justin on November 11, 2006 at 5:02PM
  • Bloomingdale's yesterday opened its new women's and children's store at the Mall at Chestnut Hill, in the former home of Filene's.
  • The opening of the store was highly anticipated by Bloomingdale's officials, as the former Chestnut Hill women's store, located across Hammond Pond Pkwy., had the chain's highest sales per square foot. One Bloomingdale's vice president said to the Boston Globe, "It's our most important store, outside our flagship, and Chestnut Hill's mix of vendors is as good or better than New York." The new store has also allowed Bloomingdale's to bring in new vendors such as La Perla, Missoni, Stella McCartney, and Dior; as well as returning the store's children's department. The template of the new women's Bloomingdale's at Chestnut Hill will also be copied in the coming months to future stores that will soon open in Chevy Chase, MD; Orange County and San Diego, CA. The Boston Globe reports on the opening at http://www.boston.com/business/articles/2006/11/08/a_makeover_at_bloomingdales/.
  • Yesterday also marked the "Grand Reopening" of the mall; some interior renovations were done in recent months in preparation for the new Bloomingdale's. One must ask, however, could these renovations at The Mall at Chestnut Hill be an effort to keep shoppers loyal to the mall with the opening of Natick's luxury expansion only 10 months away?
Could Lowe's opening be delayed once again?
Written by Justin on November 11, 2006 at 4:30PM
  • The town of Framingham is once again threatening to fail to issue Lowe's an occupancy permit for the slated opening of their new store on Cochituate Road (Rt. 30). Planning Board administrator Jay Grande cites problems including a visible elevator from Route 30, timing issues with traffic signals near the store, and an outstanding violation of the town's sign bylaw. Construction of the rooftop parking lot is yet to be completed, and poor construction has led to rocks and debris getting into the sprinkler system, which would prevent the system from working properly in the event of an emergency.
  • More information can be found at http://www.metrowestdailynews.com/localRegional/view.bg?articleid=144500.
Natick releases parking plan for holiday season
Written by Justin on November 11, 2006 at 4:13PM
  • With the mall now missing one of its three original parking garages, hundreds of construction workers on site, and the holiday season fast approaching, Natick (Mall) recently released a plan for coordinating parking over the next 6 weeks.
  • One element will be having all mall employees as well as all construction workers park on the lower level of the under-construction Parking Garage F beginning on November 24, next to the future JC Penney store. This will clear a large amount of the spaces in Parking Garage C where many of the workers currently park. The completed garage, along with  JC Penney, will open to the public on March 1.
  • Another change will be changing the mall's entrances from Route 9. The current entrance near Lord & Taylor is now closed, and in its place will be a new exit ramp leading from Parking Garage C directly to Route 9, which will be open by November 24th. Shoppers will still be able to enter the mall from Route 9 using the entrance near Macy's.
  • Lastly, special traffic rules will be in place along the mall's Speen Street entrance beginning November 18th. These will require shoppers leaving the mall during peak traffic times to turn right on Speen Street.
  • The MWDN has more information on the parking situation at http://www.metrowestdailynews.com/businessNews/view.bg?articleid=145050.
Fire-like incident at mall construction site
Written by Justin on November 11, 2006 at 3:57PM
  • An incident at the under-construction Parking Garage E hit the news earlier this week. The event, which occured at 12:30am on November 9, involved the short-circuiting of a temporary electrical panel in the garage, most likely because of heavy rain. A press release issued by the mall indicates that there was in fact not a fire, only excessive smoke and charring of the electrical components. While the Natick fire chief indicated that there were explosions at the site, mall general manager Frank Lazorchak later indicated that there were instead only loud "popping" noises, rather than actual explosions. Further, mall officials indicated that the existing mall was entirely unharmed by the incident, citing that the construction site is completely and securely separated from the existing mall.
  • Natick fire officials indicated that there was an estimated $40,000 of damage to the $550 million project as a result of the fire, there was no confirmation of this figure by the mall.
  • The MWDN has two stories on this incident: http://www.metrowestdailynews.com/localRegional/view.bg?articleid=145069 and http://www.metrowestdailynews.com/localRegional/view.bg?articleid=145133.
Burberry en route to Natick
Written by Justin on November 6, 2006 at 9:25PM
  • Thanks to one Framingham/Natick Retail reader, we now know another retailer that will be part of the Natick expansion. A manager at the Burberry store on Newbury Street in Boston  confirmed speculation that the retailer would be part of the mall's expansion.
Worker suffers small injury at mall construction site
Written by Justin on November 6, 2006 at 9:22PM
  • The MetroWest Daily News reports that a small metal bar fell on a construction worker at the Natick expansion. Serious injury was prevented because the worker was wearing a helmet; nevertheless, he was brought to MetroWest Medical Center's Framingham campus for treatment. The MWDN has more at http://www.metrowestdailynews.com/localRegional/view.bg?articleid=144512.
"Ang's China Bistro" part of Natick expansion?
Written by Justin on November 2, 2006 at 10:31PM

Ang's China Bistro
  • While looking at the "Natick 2007 Expansion Architectural Design and Technical Manual", which can be found at General Growth's website here, I couldn't help but notice a specific rendering of the mall's facade. Look to the left of the picture and you'll see "Ang's China Bistro". Think about it: how many restaurants end in "China Bistro", have been strongly rumored for months, and have obligatory concrete horses out front? If you still can't figure it out, click here.
  • Could "Ang's" be part of the store announcements on November 17th? Framingham/Natick Retail will be there; although coverage of the "topping-off" fell through at the last moment due to personal reasons, look for extensive coverage of the upcoming event here immediately following.

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