The latest Natick, Mass., business news:
Pickleball could bounce bio labs at ex-Neiman Marcus space
Some neighbors of the former Neiman Marcus space at Natick Mall were really worked up when they learned of plans to outfit the space for bio labs. At least those might have been quiet, aside from the air filtration systems.
But now comes word that a dreaded noisy neighbor, pickleball, might be coming to the space instead. Outdoor pickleball courts have created controversy in communities such as Wellesley, where neighbors have complained of the mental health issues tied to hearing pop-pop–pop all day long from the paddle sport, though surely any indoor pickleball courts could be designed with soundproof walls. One environmental activist in Wellesley told us recently, as the town contemplates moving its pickleball courts near Morses Pond, that “perhaps pickleball is just an indoor game.”
Natick has struggled to find enough pickleball space to meet demand, so the Mall option could be welcomed by the Rec & Parks Department (though it will likely prove to be more expensive than free outdoor pickleball…).
Several reports have surfaced this week about plans by property owner Bullfinch to ditch plans bio labs in favor of pickeball courts and office space from an affiliate of Bosse Sports, which already has a pickleball facility in Hyde Park, and has operated a gym at the mall’s Nouvelle condo complex. WCVB-TV shared a rendering from Bullfinch of the possible facility, which could include 21 courts, a lounge, physical therapy, and restaurants. It could be one of the largest of its kind in the country. The Boston Globe reports that Bosse has already signed a deal with Bullfinch, but plans have yet to make their way to Natick town boards. Real Reporter wrote over the weekend that sources say that meetings with town officials have already taken place.
High-end fashion retailer Neiman Marcus closed its Natick location last year at the 2-story, 94,000 sq. ft. space.
The meltdown of big retailers at Natick Mall has paved the way for entertainment venues, soon to include the Puttshack mini-golf business.
Spirit Halloween makes cameo appearance
Speaking of high-end fashion….Spirit Halloween has popped up in Sherwood Plaza next to the Minado restaurant to fulfill your scary holiday wishes.
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New ABI-LAB to rise from rubble
(Updated on 12/11/23): Speaking of bio labs….(wow, the segues just keep coming), the ABI-LAB 3 project is now underway on the site of the former Travelodge at the edge of Sherwood Plaza on Rte. 9 East.
ABI-LAB, which has 2 other facilities that house independent life science and biotech labs, has run its plans for ABI-LAB 3 through the town and anticipates the 34,500 sq. ft. of lab and office space to be available by late next year.
ABI-Lab secured $13.6 million in financing from Rockland Trust for the expansion.