June 27, 2004

The Other Major Local Mall Project

In addition to the major Natick Mall expansion, there's another large-scale mall project on the table in MetroWest: a $105 million, 850,000-square-foot new mall on the Hudson-Berlin line on Rte. 62.

Interestingly, in keeping with the current trend in major shopping centers (see previous post), this won't be an enclosed center.

"The open-air mall, called Highland Commons, would include high-end department stores. smaller shops, and restaurants," Globe West reports.

The developers are promising "quality design, construction, and landscaping . . . to make it a visually attractive and desirable shopping destination," the story says. However, there's NOTHING in the article about pedestrian/bicycle access or a pedestrian friendly environment.

Attention Hudson & Berlin planners: This is new development. You've got a golden opportunity to begin reversing decades of pedestrian-hostile sprawl and demand a design that gives equal weight to non-motorized travel. This would make the new mall a much more appealing addition to your communities, instead of just another bunch of stores surrounded by an ocean of pavement that forces vehicle-only access.

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