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News Updates: July 2007

All updates from the month of July 2007 are listed below.

What's going on in the former Borders building?
Written by Justin on July 31. 2007 at 7:22PM
  • With the mall appearing to be in the midst of a "calm before the storm," word has come out about what the former Borders building will become.
  • The MetroWest Daily News reported last week that the Tudor-style building at 85 Worcester Road is being split into several different retail spaces by it's owner, Hanna Enterprises. The most durastic changes will come as the building loses the outdated stylings to take on a more traditional red brick and clapboard look. The 5,700 sq. ft. front half of the first floor will become a Sprint retail store and repair center, which will relocate from 215 Worcester Rd. Meanwhile, the rear portion of the first floor is in negotiations to become an outpost of Denver-based Chipotle Mexican Grill. While there is no definite plan at this point for the top level, it is likely to become offices once the construction is complete.
  • For more, the MWDN story is online at http://www.metrowestdailynews.com/business/x113133480.
P.F. Chang's job listing confirms plans for Natick Collection restaurant
Written by Justin on July 26. 2007 at 6:46PM
  • One of the earliest rumored tenants of the expansion at the mall was P.F. Chang's China Bistro. Since construction began, speculation has run rampant that the restaurant would become part of the project. Last November at the "Natick" grand re-opening, F/NR heard from a top-level source that the restaurant had signed a letter of intent to open at the expansion.
  • Earlier today, a F/NR reader forwarded along some job postings at Monster.com, all of which contain one line: "We are pleased to announce that P.F. Chang's China Bistro is coming to Natick, MA!". No word yet on when the restaurant will officially open it's doors, although the company's website would appear to indicate that the opening will be closer to the end of the year.
Delays plague Natick Collection expansion
Written by Justin on July 13. 2007 at 12:39AM
  • When the mall expansion opens on September 7, the Natick Collection won't exactly be the collection of retailers that it was intended to be. While Nordstrom is on schedule to open its first store in Massachusetts at that time, it seems that it may be one of the only stores in the Collection's expansion. Neiman Marcus' grand opening has been postponed one week to September 15, and according to GGP's Jim Grant, most but not all of the stores will open by Christmas.
  • This news also hurts the mall in front of the Natick Planning Board. As light construction within the expansion will continue through the holiday season, some planners questioned whether it would be a safe environment for shoppers and thus whether a temporary occupancy permit should be approved in time to allow the Sept. 7th opening to take place. While Grant assured the board that it would, two members of the board are set to head out to the site to check out the mall before their August 8th meeting.
  • In related-but-unrelated news, an empty 10,000 sq. ft portion of the J.C. Penney building is available for lease to a restaurant, but so far General Growth hasn't had luck finding a tenant. At the meeting, Grant was also sent to ask for the board's approval in putting attaching pictures of people eating to the side of the store in the hope of allowing a restauranteur to see the full potential of the building. The request was denied, although the company may persue a $260 per day fine for the signs - much like what was proposed several months back by Otis & Ahern for the mall's condominium towers.
  • The full story is online at http://business.bostonherald.com/businessNews/view.bg?articleid=1010884
New retailers to hold job fair July 28-29
Written by Justin on July 13. 2007 at 12:13AM
  • Retailers that will be moving into the Natick Collection's expansion (eventually) will be holding a job fair at the Natick Courtyard by Marriott on Speen St. on July 27 and July 28 from 11a-3p each day.
  • Tenants at the event will include Allen Edmonds, Anthropologie, Blue Mercury, Brighton Collectibles, Clarks, Finale, Hanna Andersson, Jacadi, JCrew, Kate Spade, Lacoste, Links of London, lululemon, Madewell, Martin + Osa, Metropark, Nordstrom, Oakley, Optica, Origins, PUMA, Ruehl 925, Scene, Solstice, Starbucks, STIL, Teavana, The North Face, Tiffany & Co., Tommy Bahama, Tourneau, and Vera Bradley.
Employment listings unveil more Collection tenants
Written by Justin on July 4. 2007 at 2:36PM
New Calvin Klein concept to open in Natick
Written by Justin on July 4, 2007 at 2:27PM
  • The Natick Collection's expansion will have almost a mini-anchor in Calvin Klein, which will open a 13,000 sq. ft. store in October or November. The store is the largest of the company's new "white label" concept, which will bring the well-known company its own non-outlet, full-price retail stores for the first time in its history. Along with the Natick Collection, stores will also be opening at malls in Los Angeles, Denver, Atlanta, and suburban Detroit.
  • The MWDN has more information at http://www.metrowestdailynews.com/homepage/x369759301. The full press release and store rendering will be posted shortly on the From Wonder Bread to the Natick Collection 2007 Expansion page.
Will Good Time Emporium be able to open with strict liquor regulations?
Written by Justin on July 4, 2007 at 2:11PM
  • Natick officials and residents have mixed feelings about Good Time Emporium, which is considering moving from Somerville to Natick's former-Sam's Club in early 2008, as the Emporium is forced to leave Somerville to make room for a new IKEA.
  • Emporium owner Dan Hayes is asking for what some believe to be radical changes to Natick's long-time dry regulations. While, as the MWDN's Andrew Manuse describes, Natick regulations would currently require someone to finish their drink before heading off to play basketball, Hayes would like to have customers walk around with their drink as it is "more natural." But Natick selectmen are skeptical of the plan: while vice chairman Charlie Hughes commented that he would approach the proposal with an open mind, others, including selectman Josh Ostroff, see a big difference between Natick's current laws and Hayes' plan.
  • More information is available from the MWDN at http://www.townonline.com/natick/homepage/x959441856.
Future plans for Route 9 come to light
Written by Justin on July 4, 2007 at 2:03PM
  • Everyone knows that Route 9 in Natick in front of the Boston Scientific headquarters has been under construction forever, but there could be some more Natick roadwork on the way. State officials met recently to with MassHighway officials to discuss much needed changes to the poorly designed road. The MathWorks recently received a $1 million MORE Jobs grant from the state to perform infrastructure upgrades surrounding its Apple Hill campus should the company's expansion be granted. However, while the grant was far from the estimated $19 million to fix Route 9 from Wellesley to Framingham.
  • Nevertheless, planning is already underway to update two major intersections: Rte. 9 at Oak Street, on which work is expected to begin in 2010, and Rte. 9 at Rte. 27, on which work will begin soon after. Other upcoming changes will be the replacement of all signs from Brookline to Westborough with newer, easier-to-read signage, and (at last) the completion of work at the Rte. 16 intersection in Wellesley Hills.
  • For more info, check out the MWDN's story at http://www.metrowestdailynews.com/homepage/x1575072624.

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