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  Other Stores and Plazas

The Evolution of Other Stores and Plazas

Adventure Car Hop [Google Maps]

Adventure Car Hop opened in 1955, and was located on Route 9. This facility was similar to the drive-in restaurants of the era. Later on, the building was renamed and became the Galaxy Car Hop. The building was eventually razed and the site became Natick Dodge, prior to the dealer's location on West Central Street in Natick. In 1985, the site was again razed and the Crowne Plaza hotel was constructed, which still stands to this day.

More Info: Adventure Car Hop

Annis Morril Volkswagen/Fiat [Google Maps]

Annis Morril Volkswagen was located on the west side of Venture West Plaza, at 60 Worcester Rd in Framingham, and was an auto dealership that sold originally Volkswagens, but in later years sold Fiats as well. The dealership stayed open until 1984, when the facility was sold to the adjacent Bowler's World complex. Following demolition of the auto dealership, the west wing of Venture West Plaza was completed and opened in 1986.

Aritech Corporation [Google Maps]

The end of Whittier Street originally included an office building that housed the headquarters and manufacturing facilities of burglar alarm company Aritech Corporation. In 1989, the site was sold to a pension fund that quickly proposed razing the site and constructing a 118,000 sq. ft. BJ's Wholesale Club. The proposal was incredibly controversial among residents of the area surrounding the store, as the proposed store was incredibly close to single-family homes. Another issue regarded a conflict of interest in which two board members were forced to abstain from the hearings.

At last, BJ's gained approval in 1993. The building, whittled down to 115,488 sq. ft., opened in late 1993.

More Info: Photo of BJ's Wholesale Club

Bowler's World [Google Maps]

Bowler's World was a ten-pin bowling alley located at 50 Worcester Road on Framingham's "Golden Mile". The facility opened in 1961; in the years after, more stores were built onto the premises. These included Avis Rent-A-Car, Paul Cohen Restaurant, and Strawberries. By 1986, after many renovations and the addition of new space on the site of the former Annis Morril Volkswagen and Fiat, the building had sprouted into the Venture West Plaza. In later years, tenants such as Maurice the Pants Man and Houlihans were located in the building, but have since made way for Legal Sea Foods, relocated from Natick, and an AT&T Wireless store.

Circuit City [Google Maps]

In 1992, Circuit City opened a store in the Golden Triangle at 1450 Worcester Rd, behind Desmond O'Malley's Irish Pub. The store suffered poor visibility from Route 9, although it did have a fair amount of parking. Circuit City, meanwhile, was in the midst of a chain wide store relocation and renovation phase, of which a relocated Golden Triangle location would be a part. With the very visible Natick Promenade slated for construction just several hundred feet away, Circuit City joined the project and relocated to the new building during October 2004.

On December 30, 2004, a newspaper article from Connecticut revealed that Bob's Discount Furniture would be coming to the Golden Triangle via the former Circuit City. It was later made official by the MetroWest Daily News, and the new Bob's Discount Furniture opened on April 7th, 2005.

More Info: Natick Promenade @ Framingham/Natick Retail, photo of old Circuit City, photo of Bob's Discount Furniture

DeScenza Diamonds
[Google Maps]

In late 2003, the Framingham Planning Board approved plans to construct a 19,100 sq. ft building on a leveled portion of Underprice Way, the road leading to Jordan's Furniture. The building was completed by mid-2004, at which time Boston-based DeScenza Diamonds began to fit up about 15,000 sq. ft. of the space to build their largest jewelry store yet. The Melting Pot, a chain of fondue restaurants, opened in the remainder of the space in 2006.

More Info: Photo of DeScenza Diamonds

Dun & Bradstreet Corp.
[Google Maps]

Dun & Bradstreet was the final tenant of an office building located on Speen Street, across from the Natick Mall. In the early 1990's, with the area quickly evolving into a retail mecca, the building was torn down. The site then housed a Sam's Club store, which opened in 1994. The Sam's Club also included a parking garage, which was constructed on the site to house the expected crowds.

But the Sam's Club was plagued from the start. Not only did the site have incredibly poor street visibility, but the opening of the BJ's Wholesale Club on Whittier Rd. in Framingham in 1994 destroyed the Sam's Club's hopes for success. On May 1, 2006, the Sam's Club abruptly closed.

Eagermann's Bakery [Google Maps]

Eagermann's was a popular bakery in Natick during the 1980s, located across Route 9 from the 9/27 plaza. This spot evolved into the Oriental Furniture Warehouse, which closed in early 2006 and was temporarily used as a Halloween Costume store during Halloween 2006.

Gino's Restaurant [Google Maps]

Gino's was a restaurant located on Route 9 eastbound in Framingham during the 1970s. By the early 80's, it had closed and the building was transformed into the "Walk-in Medical Clinic". With the retirement of the head doctor, the clinic closed in January 2006. During spring 2007, the building was gutted, and reopened shortly after as a Middlesex Savings Bank branch.

Giovanni's [Google Maps]

Giovanni's was a restaurant that was located at 70 Worcester Rd in Framingham across from Shopper's World; it appeared to be something of a steakhouse/Italian food restaurant. In 1980 Uno's demolished the restaurant and constructed a Pizzeria Uno, which stands to this day.

More Info: Giovanni's advertisement at framinghammass.info

Holiday Inn
[Google Maps]

At one time, there was apparently a Holiday Inn on Route 9. By the 1990s this site became Desmond O'Malley's Irish Pub and Restaurant. O'Malley's was closed in 2006 and was renovated into Metro 9 Steak House, which opened toward the end of the year. It's likely that the Holiday Inn also took up most of the Bob's Discount Furniture lot behind it.

Howard Johnson's [Google Maps]

For many years there was a Howard Johnson's on Route 9. From what I have read, it appears that the Howard Johnson's Restaurant existed since the 50's, while the hotel component was added in 1968. In 1983, the Howard Johnson's Restaurant was replaced with something called "Bumbershoots", and later on, this became a Chili's. In 2003, the restaurant closed due to roof problems that took a year to fix. It reopened in 2004. Meanwhile, the hotel changed around 2000 from Howard Johnson's (with the orange roof) to "The Framingham Inn" (with a blue roof). This lasted about a year, when the hotel became a Best Western as it is today.

More Info: Framingham Howard Johnson's at America's Landmark: Under the Orange Roof, Best Western Framingham website

[Google Maps]

At a time, the Jack-In-The-Box burger chain, currently confined to the west, operated nationwide and had a location in the Golden Triangle on Route 9. I'm not sure when the restaurant closed, but by 1987, the restaurant was replaced with a LensCrafters with adjoining optometrist's office. The building is currently slated to be replaced with a new retail development as part of Natick Promenade's Phase II.

Lafayette Electronics Store [Google Maps]

This was apparently a chain of electronics stores that appear to be an early version of today's Best Buy and Circuit City chains. I am unsure about the location's history, but in the late 1970's the company made poor decisions to market illegal CB radio equipment, and ended up being acquired by Circuit City in 1981. Another source states that the company was once acquired by Montgomery Ward.

In 1989, a plaza was constructed on the site, which currently houses Rochester Big & Tall, Sleepy's, Skipjack's Seafood, B.B. Kids, Fitness Etcetera, Eastern Mountain Sports, Fresh City, and a few other tenants including a dental office. Past tenants in the plaza have included Coconuts Music, Legal Sea Foods (relocated to Framingham due to Natick liquor restrictions), Milton's, For Eyes (relocated to Sherwood Plaza in 2004), and Woodworker's Warehouse.

Old Connecticut Path Marketplace [Google Maps]

Located somewhat off of the Golden Triangle, behind the NYNEX building, were numerous office buildings that dated at least to the mid-1970s. The buildings acted as offices for Zayre, which operated their corporate headquarters about a mile away (770 Cochituate Rd.). Zayre had abandoned the premises by 1987, as their new, expanded corporate headquarters on Rte. 30 was completed.

In 1993, construction began on a new shopping center housing a Super Stop & Shop, a dry cleaner (Super Star Cleaners), the relocated Fifth Ave. Liquors, an Applebee's franchise, and Grove Bank. The Stop & Shop opened first, with the other retailers surrounding the store opening in the subsequent years.

Super Stop & Shop opened in 1994 with an Uno's to-go pizzeria, and two revolutionary features for a grocery store: in-store banking, as discussed above, and an in-store pharmacy. Within a few years, the Uno's logo quietly disappeared from the deli. The store also had a very small "snack bar" where one could get a soda while shopping, but in 2002, this was replaced with a Dunkin Donuts franchise. The largest change to the store occurred in early 2005, when Stop & Shop gave the store its first real renovation. Initially, Stop and Shop planned to change the store’s entrances and exits, but the Framingham Planning Board’s satisfaction with the current design left most of the exterior unchanged. The renovation did result in many interior changes, including the relocation of the bottle return room from the right side of the store to the left, countless department relocations, new fixtures, new lighting, and new flooring. The renovation was completed in mid-2005.

Since the plaza opened, it has encountered many changes. The Applebee's restaurant closed in 2003 for unknown reasons, and was replaced by the end of the year by Firefly's Bodacious BBQ. In 1997, Grove Bank was acquired by Citizens Bank, creating Citizens' first branch in Framingham. The Stop and Shop also had an in-store bank, which, as a result of many mergers, had become a Fleet Bank by 2003. In 2003, Citizens Bank reached a large-scale agreement to replace Fleet branches in nearly all Rhode Island and Massachusetts stores. This proved poorly for the Old Connecticut Path Stop & Shop, due to the existing Citizens Bank branch. After the lease on the former Grove Bank expired, Citizens shuttered the branch in February 2005. The former bank remained vacant for over a year, until it was replaced with a Middlesex Savings Bank branch on March 15, 2006.

More Info: Photo of Old Connecticut Path Marketplace, Old Connecticut Path Marketplace information, Middlesex Savings Bank Opens Second Framingham Branch

Roy Rogers [Google Maps]

Roy Rogers opened in 1970 on the corner of Speen Street and Route 30. In 1973, it was replaced with a Howard Johnson's. Over time, the restaurant evolved into a Ground Round. The Ground Round closed in 1998, with owner American Hospitality Concepts, Inc. replacing the restaurant with a "Berkshire Grill" concept at Shopper's World. In 2000, the existing building was demolished and a new Naked Fish restaurant was constructed on the site.

More Info: Town of Framingham property photos

State Farm Insurance
[Google Maps]

For quite a while, there was a State Farm Insurance Agency on Cochituate Rd. (Route 30). It was built in 1972 and added to in 1978, and if I recall correctly, resembled somewhat of a ranch house. There were renovations made to the building in 1990. I recall that there may have once been a fire or something like that there in the 90's. In 1999, the building was demolished and was replaced by Barmakian Jewelers, which opened in 2000.

More Info: Town of Framingham property photos

The Farm Stand (Framingham) [Google Maps]

The site at 575 Worcester Street was first an A & P Supermarket, but by the 1970s, it had become "The Farm Stand", a supermarket focusing on produce. The Farm Stand closed in the mid-90's. The entire site was razed and leveled to become a new plaza which opened in 1997. The plaza was anchored by one of the first Wild Harvest supermarkets (owned by Star Market), and featuring an Orvis, a Starbucks, a liquor store, and several other tenants. In 2000, the Wild Harvest chain was sold to Wild Oats Markets, who converted all of the stores under that branding. Wild Oats would last just a year, with the store becoming part of the local Bread and Circus chain in 2001. In 2003, Whole Foods Market, which owned Bread and Circus, re-branded the chain under its corporate name.

The Farm Stand (Wayland) [Google Maps]

Located in Cochituate at the corner of Rt. 27 and West Plain Street, the store closed at some point during the 1990s. The facility was gutted and renovated to house a Dunkin Donuts, Morn's Thai Restaurant, and "The Artful Framer", a frame store.

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