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News Updates: May 2005

All updates from the month of May 2005 are listed below.

Recent updates in Golden Triangle retail
Written by Justin on May 28, 2005 at 12:31AM

  • Lowe's has, at last, created the press release regarding the Framingham store on Route 30. It's slated to be opening sometime in the first few months of 2006; more information can be found at the URL, http://lowes.mediaroom.com/index.php?s=press_releases&item=720. Also, has anyone noticed the considerable amount of plywood in windows of the Lowe's building? At least two windows have been blown out and replaced with plywood on the back side of the building, one window on the North/South Connector side, but nothing really on the front yet. Some heavy equipment should be entering the scene soon...
  • The nice looking green banner that was hanging on the Wonder Bread fence on Speen Street has been taken down! It was actually a nice looking barrier, and I'd bet that the Town of Natick had a problem with it. (see: condo info banner on Parking Garage C)
  • On the Natick Planning Board's website, it appears that there were discussions regarding the Sherwood Plaza Petco at the two meetings this month. Could some exterior renovations be on the way?
  • I also hear that exterior renovations are forthcoming for the T.G.I. Fridays at Shopper's World.
  • Also, the interior work on the Old Connecticut Path Stop & Shop seems to be wrapping up. New deli, bakery, Dunkin Donuts, Boston Market, and pharmacy sections are complete, and currently tileing work is leading to many closed aisles. Beauty products and natural foods appear to now be located where frozen foods were; no word yet on where frozen foods is moving.
I've got a photo of Bob's Discount Furniture that will be going up shortly, and I've got a "photo shoot" on the way soon. Additionally, I'm planning to get you all updated with the latest developments in the Natick Mall condo developments. Have any questions, comments, or corrections? Just let me know through the feedback box!

Verizon demolition expected to start soon
Written by Justin on May 15, 2005 at 11:33AM

  • Looking at the information online at Framingham's permit database, I would expect demolition of the Verizon building to begin soon. The building appears to have some of the windows blown out and replaced by what appears to be cardboard. It's also surrounded by a small, black fence, but not one that could prevent people from entering. But by viewing the permit database, it looks like a general contractor has been chosen. It's Themeli Builders, who appear to have built many of the buildings at the new Shoppes at Blackstone Valley in Millbury. The have also built the Lowe's store in Worcester, and will likely be a good choice for the project. I believe that the Planning Board needs to look at the project one final time before it is, well, finalized. By the way, you can check on permits for the Lowe's project at the following link: http://www.framinghamma.gov/Permit_Property/PermitsPage1.aspx?Street_No=350&Street=COCHITUATE%20RD.

Wonder Bread site slowly "metamorphasizing"
Written by Justin on May 15, 2005 at 11:27AM

  • Anyone notice the new green signage covering the fencing surrounding the Natick Mall. It says something like  "A Metamorphasis Is Coming: Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom", and also provides a link to the mall's website for more information. I wonder when we will see something big happening at the construction site?

Natick Mall rail-trail tunnel making progress
Written by Justin on May 15, 2005 at 11:20AM

  • The Natick Mall is making progress with rail-trail advocates, and is talking with them regarding the construction of a tunnel for pedestrians and bikers that would run under Speen Street. The MWDN reports that while the mall would like a $2 million dollar tunnel which would expectedly be rather fancy, rail-trail advocates would settle with a cheap, $100,000 tunnel. However, rail-trail leaders are optimistic that the tunnel will be built. The MWDN has a story online at http://www.metrowestdailynews.com/localRegional/view.bg?articleid=98617.

Natick Mall announces hotel and condo plans
Written by Justin on May 15, 2005 at 11:09AM

  • At last, there's some news regarding the Natick Mall's Phase II. Reportedly, the Natick Mall's new condos will be available in one, two and three-bedroom units, and will cost between $150,000 and $500,000. 15% of these will be considered affordable housing, which will bring Natick to a more acceptable level, as the town is currently below the state's required amount. The 8-story towers will be 80 feet tall, and many members questioned that tower's height.
  • Additionally, a new component was added to the project. Ever since the Ritz-Carlton was dropped from the project in 2003, it had seemed that the project would not have a hotel. Now, General Growth is adding a "non-chain, small, upscale" boutique-style hotel, which seemed to have most of the Natick Planning Board's support.
  • It appears that the major factor in the expansion is getting an agreement with Federated to drop their appeal of the project. If this happens, one could expect Phase II to begin construction in Summer 2006. The MetroWest Daily News reports on the latest developments with the mall at http://www.metrowestdailynews.com/localRegional/view.bg?articleid=98543. If you want an opposing point of view, I'll also link commentary from Planning Livable Communities at http://gartenberg.com/planblog/index.php?p=285.

Cloverleaf Mall apartments an expensive burden
Written by Justin on May 2, 2005 at 9:42PM

  • Not much retail news has come up lately, other than this piece about a week ago. Apparently, the management of Cloverleaf Apartments LLC, who plans to build the 10-story tower, wants Natick to pay it's legal fees of about $1 million dollars. The apartments, which are not affiliated with the mall, claim that the town is responsible because of the fact that Natick needs the complex to be built as Natick presently does not have enough 40B, or affordable, housing. The tower, if constructed, will have a large amount (46) of it's units as affordable housing.
  • To separate my view from the facts, this project appears to be ridiculous on both sides. First, though I have not seen the plans, it sounds to me like a gigantic public housing complex reminicent of, say, the Cabrini-Green complex in Chicago, well-known as the location of Good Times. Unless the building looks really good, it's probably going to be an eyesore like the Hampton Inn next door (at least the Natick Mall's two 8-story towers look good). At the same time, the Town of Natick badly needs affordable housing, and their proposal was turned down by the state as the town claimed that they had more 40B housing than they actually have, and appears to be acting rather demeaning toward these projects as if they are public housing. Something interesting will certainly come out of this. The MWDN's story, as viewed through the Milford Daily News' site, is at http://www.milforddailynews.com/localRegional/view.bg?articleid=69953.
And that's it! As always, be sure to send me your comments, corrections and memories through the feedback box. Thanks!

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