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From Shopper's World (1951) to Shopper's World (1996)

Address: 1 Worcester Road, Framingham, MA, 01701

Original Facility built: 1951

Construction Stage: 1994-1996

New Facility opening: 1996

Known stores in former: Jordan Marsh, Jordan Marsh Furniture Store, McCrory, Sears, Lerner, Toys 'R' Us, Papa Gino's, Windsor Button, Joan & Ed's Deli, Radio Shack, Record Town, Belden Jewelers, Herman's World of Sporting Goods, Brett's Luggage, Fitts Photo Shop, Friendly's Ice Cream, Lane Bryant, Casual Corner, Hickory Farms, Kinney Shoes, Jack August Restaurant, Sterling Optical, Gatepost, The Deli, Masciarelli Jewelers, GNC, CVS, Beefsteak Charlie's, Gingiss Formalwear, Kennedy's, trading cards/collectibles store, Talcoff's Shoes, General Tire, Gulf gas station, General Cinema (6 Screens)

Current stores: Bruegger's Bagels, Snip It's, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Office Depot, Toys 'R' Us, Macy's Furniture Gallery, T.J. Maxx, Babies 'R' Us, Joe's American Bar & Grill, DSW Shoe Warehouse, A.C. Moore Arts & Crafts, John Harvard's Brew House, Marshalls, Bob's Stores, The Paper Store, Nordstrom Rack (coming soon), The Sports Authority, Best Buy, Barnes & Noble, Starbucks, TGI Friday's, Olive Garden, AMC Framingham 15, AMC Premium Cinema 1

Mall (Store) website: http://www.ddr.com/listings/default.aspx?pn=A20863

News stories: Customers await new Shoppers, Nordstrom Rack to Open at Shoppers World

  • Shopper's World was the first outdoor shopping center built east of the Mississippi River, which opened on October 4, 1951 with 44 retailers. The center was initially anchored by a futuristic, flying saucer-like Jordan Marsh with two two-story sides containing running parallel to create a courtyard in the middle of the open-air center. The center courtyard was very popular, even hosting Flipper the Dolphin once during the summer. A children's playmround was also located in this area. At the northwest corner of the mall parcel, the first cinema ever to be located at a shopping mall was built, and was connected to the rest of the mall by means of a walkway.. The north end of the mall was left open until around 1960, when a Stop and Shop grocery store was constructed there. Also at the north end of the mall was a Jordan Marsh basement store, which competed directly with the Filene's Basement located across Route 30. As time went on, it evolved into a Jordan Marsh furniture store. In 1978, the Stop and Shop was replaced with a Toys 'R' Us, which featured an exterior of brown and colored bars. Along the west wing of the center was at one time a two-floored Sears. By the mid-1960s, Sears had relocated to the Natick Mall, and the store became Lerner's. Next to Sears was a deli, and then McCrory, which was also a two-floored tenant. Across from these two stores was Herman's World of Sporting Goods, located along the mall's east side. The store was somewhat of a smaller predecessor to today's Dick's Sporting Goods and The Sports Authority. Shopper's World also had a Gulf gas station outlot, which was located on the east side of the mall before it was demolished in 1975. There was also a General Tire outlot, which was located on the west side of the mall. By the early 1990's, the mall had become home to such retailers as Radio Shack, Hammett's Learning Center, Windsor Button of Boston, Joan and Ed's Deli (which has since relocated to Sherwood Plaza), Papa Gino's, Brett's Luggage, and many others. Shopper's World was located next to the Natick Mall, an enclosed mall that was built in 1966 and never had a huge impact on Shopper's World. It housed the relocated Sears as well as a Filene's.
  • As previously mentioned, Shopper's World had the first cinema ever constructed at a shopping mall, a General Cinema. The cinema opened along with the rest of the mall in 1951 with one screen. General Cinema designed the cinema with adobe-like panels as exterior walls, which were bolted onto steel girders. The logic behind this unique construction was that if the cinema were to be a complete failure, General Cinema could easily pack up the cinema and leave.   The original auditorium had 1432 seats, and was actually designed with curtains, a stage, and a dressing area with two bathrooms backstage. For the first two years of operation, General Cinema ran "summer stock" during the summer months, which consisted of Broadway musicals and comedies starring some of the biggest names of the day, such as Mae West, Marlon Brando, and Wally Cox. The original building had turquoise walls along with a floral carpet. In 1963, the cinema added a second screen, and remodeled the interior to a white lobby with blue fabrics on the wall along with red carpeting. In 1974 the cinema added two more screens, along with two box offices, a refreshments stand, and a darker wood-paneled section of the lobby. Finally, in 1982, the largest two auditoriums were both split in half, thus creating a total of six screens. For the most part, the cinema would remain in its 1982-state until it was replaced with the General Cinema Framingham 14 in 1995.
  • While the facility would not see any real form of renovation until the early 1990s, planning began many years earlier. At first, Allied Stores, Inc., owner of Jordan Marsh and Shopper's World, was going to rehabilitate the facility. In 1982, Allied signed Melvin Simon of Simon Malls to construct a new, modern, enclosed mall. By 1986, plans were made evident that Simon's new Shopper's World would increase from 710,000 sq. ft. to 1.3 million sq. ft., adding a 400-room hotel, several office buildings, and significantly more retail space. However, when Canadian businessman Robert Campeau acquired Allied Stores through his Campeau Corp. in 1987, he decided to rebuild the mall himself and exclude Simon. Following this announcement, Simon proceeded to sue Campeau on the basis that he had already spent $3.5 million dollars on the project. Meanwhile, Equitable Life Assurance Companies, which owned the land that Shopper's World was located on, sued Campeau along with Simon, so Campeau countersued Simon and Equitable. Finally, on September 21, 1989, all lawsuits were dropped and the trio agreed to work together on a new Shopper's World, with Campeau in charge. The new plan agreed to included a three-floored Nordstrom, a 300,000 sq. ft. three-floored Jordan Marsh, two other large department stores, a 45,000 sq. ft. retail outlot, a 50,000 sq. ft. movie theater outlot, a 420,000 sq. ft., two-floored mall corridor, and eventually 4 four-floored, 100,000 sq. ft. office buildings. This proposed facility would also include construction of a new interchange on Route 9, and direct access to the Massachusetts Turnpike with the possibility of eventually getting an exit for the center itself. By 1990, the plan evolved to five department stores. Two large parking garages would flank the left and right sides of the facility, and the construction would allow for the existing facility to continue operation until all existing tenants were relocated to their new spaces. However, the plan stalled: the Framingham Planning Board was slow to approve the project, and opposition from Natick Mall owner S.R. Weiner didn't help. In 1992, the property changed hands from Melvin Simon to Chicago, IL-based Homart Development. Homart would also acquire the Natick Mall, and in 1994, the renovated Natick Mall opened to the public, with 172 stores, a food court, a renovated Filene's and a new Sears, a new Lord and Taylor, and a new three-floored Jordan Marsh: the store that was expected to flagship Shopper's World renovation plans. The Jordan Marsh store at Shopper's World closed shortly after.
  • With the new Natick Mall open and many of Shopper's World's tenants relocated to the new facility, In 1992, Homart quickly filed for and received approval to construct a new power center on the site of Shopper's World. Construction would include 25 new retailers, mostly big-box stores but with several smaller restaurant and retail tenants sprinkled in, along with a new General Cinema multiplex. The new cinema was one of the first elements of the new Shopper's World to open. It was constructed on Flutie Pass between the two retail facilities, and opened in December 1994 with 14 screens. Several years after opening, the cinema expanded to add one new screen and one premium screen. In 2001, AMC Theaters acquired the Chestnut Hill, MA-based General Cinema, and the name of the theater became the AMC Framingham 15, viewing the premium cinema as a different theater.
  • Construction also began on a new Toys 'R' Us and accompanying Kids 'R' Us, on Shopper's World's former parking lot. From the Papa Gino's, the new two new stores could be seen. With their opening in 1994, the crumbling Shopper's World was shuttered for good and demolished shortly after. During the demolition, two police officers scoured the vacated property for leftover items which were then given away to the less fortunate, also taking with them extra office furniture that was put into use in the police station.
  • The big box center began with the east side with Toys 'R' Us and Kids 'R' Us as the two first stores that opened. Kids 'R' Us stayed with the center through a re-branding as KRU, but closed with the rest of the chain in early 2004. Office Depot bought many of the Kids 'R' Us leases, and opened a store in Kids 'R' Us' space in 2004. Three small stores, a Cambridge Sound Works, a Snip-It's kids hair salon and Bruegger's Bagels opened perpendicular to the Kids 'R' Us; Cambridge Sound Works closed presumably when its 10-year lease expired, and Independent Mobile opened in the space in early 2006. Independent Mobile didn't last long, a year later the store was vacant again, but Chipotle Mexican Grill would open in the space in September 2008. On the other side of Toys 'R' Us, an access road to Flutie Pass was constructed, following that, more big boxes were built. While Jordan Marsh relocated to the Natick Mall, it left the furniture department at Shopper's World with a new Jordan Marsh Furniture Gallery retail store. The name on the store changed to Macy's Furniture Gallery when Jordan Marsh was re-branded in 1996. Next to Macy's Furniture Gallery was T.J. Maxx, Sears HomeLife and Jewelry Depot, a jewelry store. Sears sold a majority stake in Sears HomeLife in 1998, and the chain was re-branded as HomeLife. The branding did nothing to improve the chain's finances, and it was abruptly shuttered in July 2001. In October 2002, Babies 'R' Us opened in the HomeLife space. Jewelry Depot closed not long after construction of the new center was completed, and the first Berkshire Grill opened in its place on January 19, 1999. The Berkshire Grill was co-owned with the Ground Round, and replaced the latter's location on the corner of Route 30 and Speen Street. In October 2003, the Berkshire Grill closed and was replaced almost immediately by Joe's American Bar & Grill. On the road that runs behind all of the aforementioned stores, a Massport bus terminal was built to serve Logan Express operations as well as Peter Pan and Greyhound busses.
  • The other side of the mall is designed somewhat like an L. Construction began from the north and included DSW Shoe Warehouse, A.C. Moore Arts and Crafts, John Harvard's Brew House, and Marshalls, which had relocated from the Marshalls Mall. This was followed by Bob's Stores and then Corning at Home.
  • Corning at Home was located in one of the smallest spaces at Shopper's World, measuring 10,775 sq. ft. The store sold cooking supplies until it closed and was replaced around 1999 with Gateway Country, which sold exclusively Gateway computers and peripherals. The chain slowly downsized until April 2004, when all remaining Gateway Country stores including Framingham closed abruptly. After that, the store saw a variety of seasonal vendors such as Halloween Express until mid-2005, when The Paper Store set up shop in to the space.
  • After The Paper Store came Linens N' Things, The Sports Authority and OfficeMax. The Linens N' Things location survived a round of store closings in May 2008, but the company did not survive, and the store was shuttered on December 26, 2008. On June 11, 2009, Nordstrom announced that a new Nordstrom Rack store would be opening in that space in spring 2010. OfficeMax relocated to Shopper's World from Sherwood Plaza East when the new center opened, and closed quietly in late 2005. It's unclear whether the closing had to do with the company's financial issues, but it is most likely that the store closed with the expiration of a 10-year lease on the space. In March 2006, it was announced that a PetSmart, complete with PetsHotel kennel facility, will open in the space in November 2006.
  • Adjacent to the OfficeMax was Nobody Beats The Wiz. Nobody Beats the Wiz an electronics store chain very similar to Best Buy, and was based in New York City. It was a rather dark store inside, with neon lights everywhere and a FugiFilm blimp over the film area. They store also had a snack bar in the middle near the music section of the store. I think they sold Rice Krispies Treats and that was about it. However, a lawsuit came up about the stores in which Circuit City claimed that Nobody Beats the Wiz was found doing fraudulent advertising, which resulted in the entire chain abruptly closing it's Boston area stores including a Danvers location in 1997. Following closure of it's Boston stores, the company sold the chain to once-local cable company Cablevision, which wanted to use the chain not only to sell electronics but also to support other company ventures, so that you could buy tickets to a show at the Madison Square Garden, and pay your cable bill as well. Cablevision re-imaged its New York City area stores as "The Wiz", before downsizing and closing the entire operation in early 2003. Meanwhile, Best Buy saw it to be a good time to enter the Boston market, with the closure of local Wiz stores along with the recent closure of Lechmere. The Framingham Wiz was refurbished and opened with Best Buy's first 5 Boston area stores in 1998.
  • The next store down sold glassware and was known as Mikasa. The store was originally supposed to become men's clothing store Today's Man, but the chain's financial problems kept it from opening. In 2003, Mikasa decided to close the Shopper's World store because the space was too big, at 18,000 sq. ft., for the amount of merchandise that they sold. Without a location in MetroWest, Old Navy opened in the space soon after Mikasa closed in late-summer 2003. The final store in the L is Barnes & Noble, an original tenant at the power center. It's connected to an adjacent Starbucks Coffee, although both tenants have exterior entrances. Finally, the plaza has two outlots in front of where the Jordan Marsh dome was once located: TGI Friday's, and the Olive Garden. The Olive Garden received a facelift in 2002, with TGI Friday's following suit in late 2005. While the outlots follow with the plain brick styles of the rest of the shopping center, they do contain elements of the corporate styling of their chains. The center also considers Kohl's to be one of it's tenants, but more information can be found on that at From Bradlees to Kohl's. A police substation was added in a house-like building near the Massport bus station in 1997; as a result of the lack of crime, it closed by 2002 and was replaced with offices for Shopper's World management.
  • Finally, after 2 years of building, the long planned Shopper's World was complete, for the most part. Homart had promised the construction of a $1.2 million "public amenity" that would include a 1,000 seat performance area, a children's playground, a mini-golf course, and a family restaurant on land at Shopper's World to replace the pedestrian courtyard at the old facility. However, before the facility could be constructed, Homart sold all of its properties to new owners, with Shopper's World ending up in the hands of Moreland Hills, OH-based Developers Diversified Realty Corporation (DDRC), which denied any involvement in the deal between Homart and the Town of Framingham. Although the land that this was to be placed on was used to create the Massport bus terminal, the town fought a legal battle over the facility into the new millennium. Eventually, DDCR was cleared of any responsibility to construct the new facility.
  • Since that time, there have been many store changes, but all of the buildings remain almost exactly how they were constructed in 1995. While the new Shopper's World was nowhere near as impressive as the one that was originally proposed, the power center serves as an important anchor to the Golden Triangle just as the old Shopper's World serves as the catalyst for the Golden Mile in 1951.
Aerial Photo: circa 1995

aerial

In this picture, the L of the mall is not even visable yet. The strip of store on the right is the Toys 'R' Us, Kids 'R' Us, and Macy's Furniture Gallery, while on the right the future Best Buy and OfficeMax are not even visable yet, same with the DSW and A.C. Moore in the top of the photo. This must have been taken soon after the demolition, as the shape of the old center is still fairly visable. Cut off on the right side of the photo is the AMC cinema complex, General Cinema at the time. The roadwork of the complex is starting to take shape in the photo as well, although there are very few cars driving down Ring Road, which surrounds the center. The Bradlees on the far left is left untouched by the construction, and it would remain this way until it was replaced by Kohl's in 2002.

My Pictures: Taken June 18, 2006

John Harvard's new signage

John Harvard's received this new lettering on the building in March 2005.

My Pictures: Taken December 17, 2004

Office Depot

Office Depot, in it's new location in the former Kids 'R' Us space.

Old TGI Friday's

The old, original facade of TGI Friday's prior to the 2005 renovation.

My Pictures: Taken May 8, 2004

Shopper's World southwest

Here's what makes up the new Shopper's World. Starting on the west "strip" of retail on the left side of the photo at the cupola are Starbucks Coffee, Barnes & Noble, Old Navy, and Best Buy.

Shopper's World northwest

Continuing from the left is The Sports Authority, Linens N' Things, the shuttered Gateway Country, Bob's Stores, John Harvard's Brew House, Marshalls, and A.C. Moore Arts & Crafts. DSW Shoe Warehouse is out of the picture to the right.

Shopper's World northeast

Running down the east side of the center are Joe's American Bar & Grill, Babies 'R' Us, T.J. Maxx, and Macy's Furniture Gallery.

Shopper's World southeast

Continuing down the east side are Toys 'R' Us, vacant Kids 'R' Us and Cambridge SoundWorks. Perpendicular to SoundWorks are Snip It's and Bruegger's Bagels.

Media: Pictures of Babies 'R' Us

Related Links: CinemaTour - Framingham 16, CinemaTour - Framingham 6, Cinema Treasures | Cinema Shoppers World, Final Days of Shoppers World, Shoppers World, Town of Framingham property photos


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