Framingham/Natick Retail NewsCenter
Customers await new Shoppers
Customers await new Shopper's
Author: Joseph Mont
Guide to the Metrowest
Date of Publication:
Development: Shopper's World
Web Site Link: None
It may be difficult to
imagine for anyone who has popped from shop to shop along Route 9, but
there was a time when the road was hardly a commercial center.
Victor Galvani, a former member of the Framingham Board of Selectmen,
recalls what Route 9 was like in the late 1940s, before Shoppers World,
the mall that anchored retail growth in the area, was built.
“It was all just an open field,” he recalled. “The whole thing was
carved out of an open field.”
Galvani was among those who cut the ribbon for the opening of the first
Shoppers World, considered by some historians to be America’s first
Now he, like many others in the area, is waiting to see what form
Shoppers World will take. The original structure, including the famed
4,500-square-foot “flying saucer dome that once sat atop cornerstone
store Jordan Marsh, was removed and the existing structure was razed
last year. In 1996, a new version of the shopping center will debut.
“I think of it as a renewal,” Galvani said. “Not necessarily a rebirth,
but a renewal. I’m not too sure what the total picture is going to be
for the new mall, but it will be something that will be good for the
The new Shoppers World will be a “power center,” an open-air
development filled with 30,000- to 60,000-square-foot stores known as
“category killers,” because they provide an exhaustive selection or a
particular merchandise category.
According to John McGourty, general manager for Homart, the
Chicago-based company developing the new Shoppers World and that
recently opened a similarly redesigned Natick Mall a few hundred yards
away, the one-two punch of the new Natick Mall and Shoppers World (a
combined $235 million project) will create a new super regional
business center” capable of keeping pace with nationwide trends and
Plans for the new shopping center also call for the construction of an
“amenity parcel,” planning jargon for an open-air recreation area to be
built between Shoppers World and the Natick Mall.
The parcel will include walking greens, a tot lot and an amphitheater,
which will feature concerts throughout the summer.
To address the increased traffic the new shopping center is expected to
attract, Homart, the state and the town of Framingham have embarked on
a $3.5 million project to upgrade roads and computer-coordinate traffic
signals on Route 9 and Route 30.
The new Shoppers World has also attracted several other businesses to
the area, notable among them are a Jordan Marsh furniture store, a
prototype for others planned throughout the country. The new “power
center” also prompted the General Cinema Corp. to tear down its old
cineplex on Route 9 and build a new, art deco, 14-screen cinema on
Flutie Pass, the road that runs between the two shopping complexes.
According to Elaine Urban, General Cinema’s regional marketing
director, a unique feature of the new cinema, which features large
screens and state-of-the-art sound systems, is that it will dedicate at
least one screen each week to foreign and art films.
“We felt there was a need because there was such a great number of
people who follow this genre,” she said. “We also hope to tap into the
moviegoing public that doesn’t want to have to go to Boston or
Cambridge to see these films.”
In the coming months, General Cinema officials also plan to open the
area’s first virtual reality arcade in the new cinema.
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