Beyond Retail

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

The Natick Mall and Framingham

I was really surprised when I found out that the Town of Framingham was able to get an impressive $1,004,000 out of General Growth Properties. Certainly Framingham was a problem in the way of a mall expansion, but who would have thought that much money!

The point of mitigation is using money to fix problems created by a new development. I was kind of surprised when I found out that the town was getting $300,000 from the project to buy what is vaguely described as "open space". Seeing that we aren't losing any open space by the construction of the mall, in fact, we are actually getting rid of an eyesore. An eyesore full of good paying jobs, but an eyesore never the less. To boot, the mall/factory isn't even in Framingham to boot, so we are technically getting money for nothing. Knowing Framingham, the open space will probably be another parking lot (see New McAuliffe Branch Shot Down for more info).

However, I do agree with most of the other mitigation for this project. The $300,000 for traffic is despirately needed, and what all of the mitigation should be going toward. We might as well have GGP put $100,000 into the LIFT bus if we are making Lowe's do it. Unlike the Lowe's project, however, the Natick Mall Expansion will include an underground bus terminal that will be very useful, connecting the Framingham-based LIFT lines with the routes of the Natick Neighborhood Bus. The other $200,000 will help to create rail-trail near the new mall. No problem with the latter; I'm just surprised that the mitigation didn't go to Natick.

In total, Framingham really made out with the mall mitigation, seeing that the mall isn't even in the town. I'm certain that the generous offer was because of GGP's relentlessness in getting the mall approved before either Neiman Marcus (a.k.a Needless Markup) and Nordstrom abandoned ship. I should have appealed the mall for the heck of it, I could have certainly gotten a few grand out of it.

A last word: I've pretty much finished the writeup on what has happened on the project so far, check it out at From Wonder Bread to the New Natick Mall.