JCPenney at Natick quickly coming together
I was at Natick (mall) the other day, so I managed to go around the back down "Natick Mall Road" and check out the progress of the JCPenney renovations/construction.
The renovations to the building are really coming along, with the letters already on the 211,000 sq. ft. building (though the west side did indicate that the store would be a "JCPenne"). The "exit to nowhere" has been taken out and covered with yellow construction material; it will likely be replaced with windows that will face the future hotel.
JCPenney is, of course, the third tenant to occupy that building, following Macy's (1996-2006) and its predecessor, Jordan Marsh (1994-1996). But as local blog Framingham Views indicates, JCPenney isn't a complete newcomer to the area: the company's 677th store opened in late April 1926 in downtown Framingham and remained open for many years.
The new store is likely to be quite different that that original one: interestingly, it will include a Sephora store-within-a-store concept despite the mall having a 5,000 sq. ft, full-service Sephora. You can see some pictures of what to expect here, one must ask why a company like Sephora would sign with JCPenney, but it seems to be working so far, at least in places where there aren't larger Sephoras within walking distance. Rumors right now have Sephora mini-boutiques going into other New England malls, specifically The Maine Mall in South Portland, ME.
From what I have heard, the store is slated to open on March 1st, although the store opening is contingent on having the new parking garage on the right completed. It would also seem that Natick Mall Road will also need to have two-way access by that point, but the barriers already seem to be in place to make that happen in just under two months.