About 150 people have paid $1,000 deposits to be on the waiting list to move into condos planned for the new Natick Mall, according to the MetroWest Daily News. The move is part of a growing mall trend to mix residences with stores.
Many would-be Natick Mall condo-dwellers are attracted to being close to planned high-end shopping; others are tired of the demands of home ownership and are interested in condo living in general, according to the story. However, I think some seeking urban living in the suburbs may end up a bit disappointed.
Great urban living gives a payback for population density, noise and pollution that goes beyond being able to walk to your favorite stores -- attractive, appealing streetscapes in which to do that walking. So far, from what I've seen of the preliminary new mall designs, there may be an extremely appealing environment within the mall, but the area outside it is extremely disappointing. (Case in point: the Cochituate Rail Trail "connection" dumps walkers into a parking lot, with no good path directly to the actual stores.) Early drawings showed a plan clearly designed for traffic flow and convenient parking, but not necessary things for enticing walking environments outside. Hopefully, that will change.