Natick Mall (1966) to the Natick Mall (1994), Natick (2006), Natick
Mall (2007), and Natick Collection (2007)
1245 Worcester Street, Natick, MA, 01760
Facility built: 1966
Facility opening: 1994, renovated 2006
stores in former: Sears, Filene's, Sears Auto
Farmer, Thomas Cook, This End
Up, Brentano's Book Store, York Steak House, Parklane Hosiery, Thom
McAn, Woolworth, Brigham's Ice Cream, The Sandwich Board, CVS Pharmacy,
Boston Baby, Kay Bee Toys, Orange Julius, Spencer Gifts, Electronics
Boutique, car dealer(?).
stores: 167, with Sears, Macy's, Lord & Taylor, and J.C. Penney.
for full list.
stories: Shopping mecca
comes to Natick from the 1995
Guide To The MetroWest, Federated
Plan to Expand Macy's Brand in 2006; About 330 May Company Stores to
Convert to Macy's Nameplate Following Merger, Natick Mall Reveals Exciting New
Natick Mall was the first enclosed shopping mall constructed in the
Boston area when it opened in 1966, and was one of the first built east
of the Mississippi River. Some sources indicated that there was
initially a stand-alone Sears on the site, and the rest of the mall was
added around it. The Natick Mall was anchored with the afformentioned
Sears at the east end and a Filene's at the
end, both of which were two stories tall. The Filene's store featured
clothing on the first floor, and on the second floor had women's
with a restaurant.
shape of the mall was
essentially a large rectangle, with windows near the tops of the walls
allowed lots of light into the mall. A Boston Baby store, located on
side of the mall, originally acted as somewhat of a mini-anchor. Over
store was demolished, creating a wing with a small food court and
stores. Today, the site of this wing is roughly where Macy's is
other stores in the mall included a women's shoe store, a men's
a bank, a barber shop, and a florist and a key shop in an open area in
the Sears. Near the Sears end of the mall was a large water fountain,
during winter months was shut off and a "Santa's house" was placed on
top of it. The Sears store also had an outlot where automotive services
performed, unlike today when auto repair is in the main building.
1991, the mall was in
the hands of S.R. Weiner, and had been left virtually unchanged
1970s and 1980s. Not unlike Shopper's World, the mall also hosted
various meet-and-greet events during its lifetime, one being a visit by
wrestling star "Macho Man" Randy Savage in the early 1990s. In 1990,
Filene's began renovation of its store which
remained unchanged since 1965. The remodeled Filene's held a grand
ceremony on November 1, 1991. However, the rest of the mall remained
the same until its closure three years later. The mall was evidently
its age, and lacked many popular stores of the time such as Abercrombie
The lack of retailers led many local customers to head 10 miles east to
malls, the then-new Atrium Mall and The Mall at Chestnut Hill. These
contained many more stores than the Natick Mall, and were not only
also in a desirable area. Losing customers to Newton was becoming disastrous for
Mall, and not only did customers need to be won back, but the mall
needed to be renovated and expanded.
the real estate division of Sears Roebuck. In 1992, the company
the Natick Mall and the adjacent Shopper's World center, and began a
plan to entirely renovate both centers, including demolishing and
the entire Natick Mall, other than the then-renovated Filene's store,
The Star Market next to the mall also closed around this time, although
remained intact (the future of that parcel is covered on the From Star Market to
Store/Ben & Jerry's page). In prior years,
Melvin Simon and others had attempted to
remodel Shopper's World into a massive retail/office hybrid that would
easily shuttered the existing Natick Mall. Yet their plans failed to
reality as the result of a picky Framingham Planning Board that refused
grant the needed permits. Knowing that Framingham
would certainly have an issue with a massive, enclosed Shopper's World,
went ahead with remodeling the Natick Mall instead. Video of the
demolition process is now available on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=507yyxa3joc.
October 12, 1994, the
new Natick Mall opened its doors. The 3 new anchor stores had opened on
day a few months earlier, but construction delays kept the interior of
closed. Sears remained on its former site, where the existing store was
demolished and a new two level store was constructed with an internal
service center. Jordan Marsh
from its dome at Shopper's World to a new three-leveled store on the
of the mall, and Lord & Taylor entered the MetroWest region by
two-floored store on the south end of the mall. The entirely-new
the mall contained a two-floored corridor, and 167 new stores; creating
presence in MetroWest for chains that have now become household names.
mall also contained a food court, featuring then-popular restaurants
such as 1
Potato 2 and Soupmasters along with tenants like Sbarro, which still
The renovations also brought about three parking garages, A, B, and C;
opening of the new Natick Mall in 1994, the facility quickly grew into
one of New England's premier
super-regional malls. The mall has
served as the launching ground for the J. Jill mall chain of stores,
received other not-so-successful concepts as well, including a small
Kitchen, Etc. store and a small TJX concept entitled "The Maxx". For
years, the mall's anchors remained the same; that would change
with the Federated-May merger. On July 28, 2005, it was announced that
operations at the Natick Mall would relocate into the Filene's
shuttering the existing Macy's building. And so, in late March 2006,
closed their doors forever at the Natick Mall, after serving as the
longest continually operating anchor store.
The mall proposed several plans to deal with the shuttered Macy's
building. The mall initially considered taking the vacant building and
converting it into some form of lifestyle center, which would have
featured upscale restaurants in addition to more retail space. However,
before long, the mall began receiving proposals from traditional
department stores, convincing management that the space could be
re-opened as a traditional anchor store. By mid-2006, both the
MetroWest Daily News and The Boston Globe indicated that J.C. Penney
was in the process of negotiating a lease, and by fall of 2006 a lease
was signed. In
November, J.C. Penney began work to convert the building, including con
When Homart sold all of its malls in the late 1990's, it sold Natick
GGP (General Growth Properties), as well as Shoppers World. Shoppers
later sold to DDR (Developers Diversified Realty), who continued to
success with the mall. In 2002, the mall purchased the former Wonder
factory next door, after it's failed endeavor as TechCommons, and began
out an expansion for the Natick Mall. More information on that project
can be found on the From Wonder
Bread to the Natick Collection 2007 Expansion page.
construction of the Natick Mall expansion underway,
Growth did not plan to leave the existing Natick Mall behind. On March
20, 2006, mall officials began work to refresh the slowly-aging
$14 million dollar renovation, designed by Beyer Blinder Belle, the
architect firm behind the mall's expansion; included new tile
floors, glass hand
replace the originally wooden rails, modern ceilings and new
renovation also calls for extensive remodeling of the food court, with
addition of new fixtures as well as new restaurants. Through these
efforts, General Growth made the Natick Mall's interior
mirror that of its forthcoming expansion.
work was officially
completed on November 17, 2006, when the mall held a grand reopening
celebration. In the process of renovating, the word "Mall" was also
dropped from all official references, as the mall picked up a new
identity as "Natick". However, this name would be extremely short
lived. By mid-January, controversy had begun to brew over the new name.
Many feared that long-term, confusion would grow between the town of
Natick and the retail complex Natick. This was taken to the next level
when the mall attempted to copyright its new logo which included the
word Natick. In an effort to appease the town, the complex temporarily
name back to the Natick Mall on January 18, 2007 while beginning the
search for a new name. Finally, on February 20, 2007,
General Growth announced that the facility's permanent new name would
be their second choice all along, Natick Collection.
On March 4, 2007 at 10:00am, J.C. Penney held a soft opening of its new
store at the Collection, in tandem with the new Parking Garage F
adjacent to the store. On March 9, the store held its official grand
opening with six other stores nationwide.
With the grand opening of the Natick Collection's expansion on
September 7, 2007, the size of the mall exploded to 1.7 million sq.
ft., with six anchor stores (Macy's, J.C. Penney, Lord & Taylor,
Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, and Sears) and over 270 individual retailers.
August 21, 2007
In early 2007,
General Growth proposed constructing "The Promenade", a small lifestyle
center component, in the parking lot between Macy's and Lord &
Taylor. With The Cheesecake Factory needing a MetroWest location badly
(at the corporate level, the company had been criticized for lacking a
location in such an affluent area), the restaurant was rushed through
the Planning Board and will be the first component of the lifestyle
center when it opens October 18th.
December 13, 2006
The east side of the future J.C. Penney store,
formerly Macy's (1996-2006) and Jordan Marsh (1994-96), as seen driving
down the new temporary Natick Mall Road. An interesting detail of the
store is the "entrance from nowhere" that is visible in the picture.
Those doors, of course, led to the former Parking Deck B; it's unclear
what will happen to the entrance as J.C. Penney prepares to open.
Here's a view of the west side of the future
J.C. Penney, with the still-intact bridge to Parking Garage A. The
notices on the store's doors indicate that the building is, for the
time being, a "hard hat zone". Penney's gutted much of the interior of
the store, and is currently working to renovate the interior of the
three-floored building to their specifications. One feature of the
store will be a Sephora "mini-boutique".
The northwest corner of the future J.C. Penney, along with the side of
the new six-level Parking Garage F. Check out that accent lighting
along the side of the store; hopefully they can come across some new
lightbulbs before the store opens in three months.
November 17, 2006
The food court was one of the areas of the mall
that was renovated in 2006. New metallic accents, decorated columns,
and luxurious tones help to set the mood for the clientele that Natick
seeks in the future. The chairs and stage are there for Natick's grand
re-opening ceremony; you can see a full gallery of photos from that
The wall behind the elevator which says
"Unique." will serve as the point where the existing mall and its
expansion will join in September 2007. The elevator will be razed to
make the expansion a bit more awe-inspiring, while that small portion
of the original (1994) railing will be replaced as well.
The walls ahead temporarily cover the entrance
of the future J.C. Penney, which will open in March 2007.
This is the mall entrance to the new Macy's
(formerly Filene's). No labelscar is visible, however.
Hopefully the forthcoming renovations to the Natick Macy's will bring
about a more stunning entrance.
June 18, 2006
Here is the new Macy's store at the Natick
Mall, in the space that has long been the home to Filene's. Hopefully
there are exterior renovations slated for this store; it's a noticable
downgrade from the old Macy's store that is slated to become J.C.
Penney. At the least, you'd think that they could powerwash the
This picture is from 1995, one year after the
Natick Mall was completed. The three parking garages are very clear
from the photo, as well as the four anchor stores. Going clockwise from
the northwest corner, are Parking Garage A, then the future J.C.
rectangle-shaped Parking Garage B, Sears on the right side of the
photo, then Parking Garage C below it. Finally, there is Lord &
Taylor to the left of the garage, and on the left side is Macy's.
Parking Garage B and the Wonder Bread factory just north of it was
where the mall's 2007 expansion was constructed, creating a curved
corridor going essentially from the Lord & Taylor, through the
since-demolished parking garage and factory.
Media: Photos of Natick Mall Signage, Photos of Natick Mall Parking Garage
of Natick Mall (1966) Demolition, Picture
Mall (1966) remains from this site, Picture of parking garage B
site, Picture of Natick Mall
construction from this
PDF, Interior Photos of the
Natick Mall (1966-2006), Natick Grand
Reopening Press Conference and Expansion Tour
Related Links: From Wonder Bread to the Natick Collection 2007
Growth Properties, Natick
Collection at GGP.com, America's Premier
Shopping Places, Natick
Collection at Labelscar: The Retail History Blog.