News Updates: January 2005
from the month of January 2005 are listed below.
Maternity Stores Combine
Under One Roof
Written by Justin on January 29, 2005 at 7:32PM
In a small piece of news, Philadelphia, PA-based maternity retailer
Mothers Work Inc. is closing it's Motherhood Maternity and Mimi
Maternity stores at the Natick Mall, along with similar stores at the
Atrium Mall and Mall at Chestnut Hill in Newton and combining them into
somewhat of a maternity superstore in the former Hitchcock Fine Home
Furnishings building near the corner of Oak St and Rte. 9 in Natick.
The new store will provide all of ther services of the old stores,
along with a "maternity spa". The MWDN's co-owned Milford Daily News
Tribune actually wrote a story about this, it's online at http://www.dailynewstribune.com/localRegional/view.bg?articleid=49093.
MWDN Lowe's Story Online
Written by Justin on January 27, 2005 at 10:40PM
Apparently the MetroWest Daily News put a story online yesterday about
the progress in the Lowe's that I did not link to the previous update.
The story is located at http://www.metrowestdailynews.com/localRegional/view.bg?articleid=88596.
For what seems to be the first time, they're actually more optimistic
than "yours truly" on an possible approval.
Updates for January 26, 2005
Written by Justin on January 26, 2005 at 3:19PM
New rendering of proposed
Lowe's (sorry about quality, it's a TV capture)
Updates on Lowe's and other
Now, the other news...
- The Framingham Planning Board
met last night to discuss the proposed 350 Cochituate Road Lowe's once
again, and it seemed that progress was really happening. For what seems
like the first time, there was surprising little controversy over the
site plan. Lowe's got the right-of-way at last that was needed to
construct a four-way stop on the North/South Connector (which connects
Target with BJ's and Stop and Shop). If this was not gotten, Lowe's
would be stuck with the current Verizon building entrance, combined
with a wacky 180 degree turn. Luckily that will not be happening. The
reflective mirrors wanted by Lowe's will not be happening either,
instead it will be transparent glass, slightly tinted, along with nice
window treatments, that will be looking into store managers offices and
equipment rooms. The board did have some concerns with the tan color on
the rendering, but the Lowe's team rebutted stating that the board
really couldn't find a tan that they liked. The board finally decided
to use the tan on the Framingham Police Headquarters to match to the
- There were concerns from the
Planning Board, however, of the rental trucks offered by Home Depot and
Lowe's. Lowe's will have two rental trucks on site, however, due to the
request of reduction in parking spaces, the spaces occupied by the
trucks will not qualify toward the total amount. The board was also
concerned that the trucks, if parked near the road, would qualify as
advertising; but the Lowe's people disspelled that by saying that if
the trucks were near the building, they would take up valuable parking
spots, and if they are near the road, then they are hard to access.
Therefore, there will be two denoted spaces located somewhere in the
middle of the lot. Sue Bernstein of the board, an advocate of the LIFT
bus service (see Beyond Retail), was also happy that there would be a
bus shelter modeled after a new one in Downtown Framingham. Bernstein
requested that the shelter by lighted, to which the Lowe's team agreed
- Finally, mitigation was
discussed. It's hard to see what projects will be most influential, but
there will be many modifications to the surrounding areas ranging from
tree plantings to traffic lights. This remains to be the last real part
of the discussion that needs to take place before the project can be
voted on and approved, seeing that most of the other concerns have by
now been addressed.
And that's what's happening.
One last thing, December news and prior is now in the news archive. If
you have any memories, comments, or questions, send them to the feedback box!
- The La-Z-Boy store on Route 9
should be opening soon. On a drive by yesterday, the store appeared to
be complete, with the signage on the store and the sign on the plaza
signpost now installed. The store is expected to open sometime next
- The Decathlon USA store at
Sherwood Plaza, with the adjoining Starbucks, is now entirely
demolished, leading the way for the new Dick's Sporting Goods and
Starbucks Coffee to open sometime this upcoming summer.
- At the aformentioned Planning
Board meeting, the Whole Foods Market at 575 Worcester Road at the
corner of Pleasant St and Route 9 was discussed, as the store wants to
add an outside terrace for their cafe. After another meeting, the
project will likely be approved seeing as it's very minimal. The Board
did not let the store's representative to forget about an accident a
few years back where a woman was killed when she was struck by a car
outside the store, so they want to be sure that the terrace will
provide the utmost safety for customers.
- Additionally, Kohl's at last
got it's final occupancy permit, although the store actually opened in
- Finally, expect changes in the
near future at the 235 Old Connecticut Path Stop and Shop. Plans were
approved last night at the Planning Board meeting that will move the
bakery to the right side of the store where the floral department is
currently located. Then, the bottle return room, with it's exterior
entrance, will be moved to the left side of the store where the bakery
was. The project had to be brought to the board due solely to the
exterior entrance of the deposit room. Is the change a waste of money?
It's probably to bring the store into the present Stop and Shop
prototype, as the store has seen little improvement since it opened in
1995 with the now easily-recognizable New England style that originated
on Cape Cod in 1993.
Updates for January 14, 2005
Written by Justin on January 14, 2005 at 5:41PM
Some Natick Mall Expansion news...
- Last night, the Natick Planning
Board looked at the latest revisions to the Natick Mall Expansion. Now,
the mall wants to construct 385,000 sq. ft of retail space, including
the Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus for Phase I. In Phase II, the housing
towers would be built, along with a connection to the existing mall.
This would allow the mall to get around many of the restrictions posed
against it by the appeals. However, the Planning Board was unsatisfied,
seeing that shoppers would likely hit both malls at once, and the
pathways from the original mall to the expansion, being outside, would
not be safe from drivers at all. Additionally, Sue Bernstein from the
Framingham Planning Board showed up to request that GGP present to the
Framingham Planning Board as well, which they agreed to.
Updates for January 13, 2005
Written by Justin on January 13, 2005 at 11:49PM
Lowe's update, but first...
Got any information or
questions on local projects? Send it all to the feedback
- Probably the biggest local
development story of the week is not retail, but it's somewhat
related.The proposed new Christa McAuliffe branch library slated for
Saxonville, Framingham was shot down by a special Town Meeting on
January 12, with the town acquiring the proposed site, but a measure to
construct a 6.7 million dollar library to replace the existing branch
failed by three votes. More in Beyond
- Now to Lowe's. It looks like
the Framingham Planning Board has chosen a design for the new Lowe's
Home Improvement Warehouse. It will be "option 7", which appears to
adopt beige and white colors, with a secondary emphasis on blue.
Unfortunately there is no present drawing of this online, but I'm
working on getting something added. It's a very nice design that will
serve the store well, the only problem is the Planning Board's desire
for real windows into the equipment rooms and office on the facade,
even if they are covered with curtains. The MDWN reports it all at http://www.metrowestdailynews.com/localRegional/view.bg?articleid=87422.
- Finally, General Growth appears
that it will be making a presentation to the Framingham Planning Board
about the proposed Mall Expansion in Natick in a hope that a compromise
will be made regarding traffic mitigation for Framingham. No word yet
on when the hearing will be held.
Updates for January 10, 2005
Written by Justin on January 10, 2005 at 10:39PM
Some small local updates...
I'm hoping to update again
tomorrow with whatever happens in the Lowe's meeting, along with a new Beyond Retail about the proposed new Christa McAuliffe
Library. Stay tuned, and send in your comments and the like to the feedback form. Thanks!
- Over in Natick, local Rail
Trail advocates received word from the Massachusetts Office of
Environmental Affairs that construction on the Natick Mall Expansion
cannot proceed without some negotiations between the Rail Trail folks
and GGP. The Rail Trail people want a tunnel to be built under Route 9
to allow bikers and hikers to safely cross Route 9. Meanwhile, GGP is
hoping for the cheap way out, with a good looking at-grade crossing. I
tend to believe, however, if a tunnel is built, it will simply be
vandalized, abandoned, and become a home for homeless. A useful and
decent looking at-grade crossing, with a stop light activated by
pushing a button, is probably a better option, not to mention less
costly. The story's online at http://www.metrowestdailynews.com/localRegional/view.bg?articleid=87268.
to an advertisement in the MWDN, La-Z-Boy Furniture Galleries is hiring
and is planning on opening it's new Natick store sometime in November.
- The ancient policies of
Shoppers World are coming into play once again. Back in 2003, Joe's
American Bar & Grill's plan to change the ugly green awnings to a
red, white and blue decor, only to be shot down by the Framingham
Planning Board. Recently, Office Depot's team that went to get
permission for two new exterior signs was also shot down, but this time
because there were SIGNS IN THE STORE'S WINDOWS ADVERTISING A SALE!
Apparently, DDRC is very slow at alerting tenants of the local customs.
Honestly, does this board have anything better to do? The story's
online at http://www.metrowestdailynews.com/localRegional/view.bg?articleid=87141.
- The Framingham Planning Board
is set to deliberate the Lowe's project tomorrow at 9:15PM, with an
executive session following at 10:15PM. Natick's Planning Board is
meeting on Wednesday at 7PM, unfortunately Natick's town website does
not usually post agendas.
Updates for January 3, 2005
Written by Justin on January 3, 2005 at 5:07PM
Update on Bob's Discount Furniture...
Questions or Comments? E-mail
me using the feedback link!
- After an e-mail correspondence
with Bob's Discount Furniture, I learned that the store will be located
at 1450 Worcester Road in Natick, the home of the former Circuit City.
No word on any possible facade changes, although something will
definately need to be done unless they want it to look like a reused
Circuit City, due to the large "circuit" in which the entrance is
housed. Bob likes to open his furniture stores on national holidays, so
perhaps we'll see a President's Day opening. More information will
probably be available at the company website, http://www.mybobs.com.
I'll try to get a webpage up about this building and the abutting
Venture West Plaza soon.
Introducing Beyond Retail
Written by Justin on January 2, 2005 at 10:15PM
With the new year, there are going to be some changes to
Framingham/Natick Retail. Many of the pages are being redone, and
content is quickly being added. But the crown jewel of the new year is
certainly Beyond Retail. On this blog, I'll be giving my opinions about
the state of retail and government, and how they each depend upon one
another. Questions like "Should Lowe's have to pay for LIFT bus
service?" and "Is the 86 million dollar proposed override in Framingham
worth it?". A place where I will be able to share my opinions on the
state of everything in MetroWest, and you will be invited to share your
However, I will continue to
keep the Framingham/Natick Retail site in the same shape, and there
will continue to be regular updates on this page as well. If you're
ready to take the plunge into Beyond Retail, click here.
Updates for January 2, 2005
Written by Justin on January 2, 2005 at 1:00AM
Happy New Year! and retail news as well...
Send any updates to the feedback link, and hopefully more news
- MetroWest will be getting a new
furniture retailer. According to a story in the The Day, a New London,
CT, newspaper, Manchester, CT-based Bob's Discount Furniture will be
building a new warehouse in Norwich, CT. However, the article also
notes that a store is "under construction". This is the first
mention of the store anywhere, so where will it be located? The first
place that comes to mind is the former Circuit City on Rte. 9 in
Natick. However, perhaps it will be in part of the Ben and Jerry's
complex, or even the former Hitchcock Fine Furnishings on the Wellesley
line. I don't believe they are going to the Planning Board anytime
soon. The story is online at http://www.theday.com/eng/web/news/re.aspx?re=D873CF24-ECA6-4DEE-A02C-91CB7037558B.
- Check out the Framingham/Natick
Retail Year in Review 2004, now
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