everyone, this was the year that everything happened. Even if we don't
know who else will become part of "The Promenade", what hotel will
become part of the Collection, Gucci and P.F. Chang's aren't yet ready
for our business, and there won't be anyone celebrating this New Year's
Eve in Nouvelle's north tower penthouse, it was pretty eventful. The
controversial "Natick" name was dropped, and this September, the
rebranded Natick Collection opened its long awaited luxury expansion
anchored by Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus. But in more detail, here's how
it all went down.
JANUARY: As the north tower of Nouvelle
at Natick reaches its top height, the mall holds a topping-off
ceremony. The kitchen floor at Bennigan's Grill & Tavern buckles,
so the restaurant closes for repairs but never reopens. Waldenbooks
closes at the mall. With tensions from the Town
of Natick rising, General Growth re-brands what had become "Natick"
back to the Natick Mall.
FEBRUARY: The mall changes its name once
again, settling on the name "Natick Collection" for the new and
existing portions of the mall. Betsey Johnson, Anthropologie, Hanna
Andersson, Puma, and Burberry are named future tenants of the
MARCH: J.C. Penney opens March 9th in
the former Macy's building, with Parking Garage F opening just south of
the store on March 4th. Framingham's CompUSA begins to liquidate it's
inventory. Somerville's Good Time Emporium has it's sights on Natick in
the former Sam's Club space. Apple and Tiffany & Co. both announce
plans to occupy spaces in the expansion.
APRIL: Middlesex Savings Bank begins
work on a new branch on Rte. 9. Otis & Ahern hope to sell a few
Nouvelle units, if they can get a banner facing the Mass Pike approved.
Sel de la Terre finds a chef for their upcoming restaurant.
MAY: abercrombie (a.k.a. Abercrombie
Kids) announces plans to open in the existing portion of the mall,
while rumors arise that the New Albany, Ohio-based company has plans
for a RUEHL No.925 store in the expansion. Michael Kors and Stuart
Weitzman also join the expansion's tenant list. Roadwork begins on
Speen Street. A 40-year old woman and her daughters beat up a 16-year
old girl at the Natick Collection near Dunkin Donuts.
JUNE: Boston Magazine holds a
photoshoot at, of all places, the Natick Collection construction site.
Moonstruck Chocolate, Tommy Bahama, Bose, Fire + Ice, Bare Escentuals,
Tourneau, Jacob, and Rachel Ashwell Shabby Chic make themselves known
as tenants. Boloco opens next to Ben & Jerry's.
JULY: Calvin Klein picks the Natick
Collection as home for one of it's new "White Label" stores, as
Allen-Edmonds, Brighton Collectables, lululemon athletica, Solstice,
Vera Bradley, Fruits & Passion, GUESS?, and Metropark also join the
list. But nobody's really ready for the big opening, so Neiman Marcus
and several other stores delay their opening. Work begins to rid Rte. 9
of the Tudor-stylings of the old Borders building, which was to become
a Colonial-styled home to Sprint.
AUGUST: The mall gets ready for the big
day, as the last 1994-era signage is replaced to make way for the new
modern look. Lots of parking goes missing from the front of the mall to
make way for the new Natick Collection "Promenade," and it's first
tenant, the Cheesecake Factory.
SEPTEMBER: Three different galas take
place for the anchor tenants and the mall on the eve of the grand
opening of the Natick Collection expansion. At last, on September 7th,
doors open to the expansion, Nordstrom, and many of the tenants. Neiman
Marcus follows suit on September 15th. Between the two, over in the
food court, Salad Creations says hello.
OCTOBER: Mall eateries aren't thrilled
with the Natick Board of Selectmen. The Cheesecake Factory opens to
colossal crowds on October 18th; in the former CompUSA building,
"BODIES... The Exhibition" tries to open but is delayed due to permit
issues. New York & Company announces plans to shutter iconic Boston
chain Jasmine Sola, with local outposts in Wellesley and Chestnut Hill.
NOVEMBER: After stupidly leaving her
purse on a bench at a Newbury Street bar, WBZ-TV (Ch. 4) meteorologist
Mish Michaels' stolen credit cards were used at the Natick Collection,
which was also where the thief was caught red-handed by police. General
Growth cancels the Natick Collection's annual "Evening of Giving", but
cares. Big crowds fill MetroWest stores during the early morning hours
of Black Friday, but the afternoon becomes fairly quiet and some
retailers see no boost at all.
DECEMBER: Back Bay Restaurant
Group-owned Papa Razzi makes plans to open in the former Bennigan's
after extensive renovations. The weekend of December
22-23 ends up being one of the busiest so far at the expanded
Collection. The owner of Alpha Omega flees to India and shutters the
company's stores 5 days before Christmas, but the stores reopen under
different management on December 23rd.
Year 2008 Everyone!