The Natick Mall’s efforts to refill the 200,000 sq. ft. once occupied by Sears continues with the planned arrival of Lucid Motors, an electric vehicle maker whose cars start at just under $80,000 and can go much higher.
Lucid’s vehicles can go 500-plus miles per charge, and the charging is fast, according to its marketing materials, peppered with footnotes to clarify bold claims about its various Air editions.
Newark, Calif.-based Lucid launched in 2007 and started delivering vehicles in 2021. It seeks to have its first floor mall space, including a showroom (with virtual reality available for designing your car), service area, merch shop and more, serve the greater Boston area.
There are also plans for a private space where new customers can have a special experience when picking up their vehicle (that brings me back to the mortifying memory of Saturn sales people circling us and clapping in unison when we bought one of their cars many years ago). One Natick Planning Board member, upon hearing Lucid’s plans, referred to this as the “conjugal visit space.”
A barebones plan initially was introduced to the Natick Planning Board last summer, and raised some concerns about Natick developing the “auto mall” version of an “auto mile.” Tesla already has a showroom on the first level of the Mall.
Brookfield Properties says the plan will enable it to fill nearly 70% of the former two-floor Sears space, which already has seen Dave & Buster’s, Level99 and Night Shift consume the top tier with its food, drink, and entertainment venues. Sears was shuttered three years ago.
Lucid, as a modern company, is prone to terms like “adaptive reusability,” “intervention,” and “brand experience” when discussing its plans, as it did in meeting with the Natick Planning Board this week. It proposes few exterior changes other than signage and a vehicular driveway into the building that will require some related landscaping work.
The Lucid team thanked the Board for supporting a zoning change approved at Fall Town Meeting allowing a motor vehicle sales operation to include limited enclosed service of its own vehicles, too. A decision on the plan could be made at Planning’s next meeting on Jan. 19.
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