The latest Natick, Mass., business news:
Boot Barn coming to Cloverleaf Mall
We don’t have a ton of details, but yee-haw, a store called Boot Barn is slated to open at Cloverleaf Mall in late February. It appears this would be the first Boot Barn retailer in Massachusetts, while dozens are located across the United States.
Boot Barn, which started in 1978, touts itself as “the largest western and work wear retailer in the nation. We say that our customers feed America, build America, and protect America.”
Located at 321 Speen St., Boot Barn will offer boots, shoes, clothes, and accessories for kids, women, and men.
We have an inquiry in to the business to get more details on its plans.
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Level99 gets big refresh
Level99, the interactive gaming venue at Natick Mall, has now opened at Providence Place in Rhode Island and announced the biggest refresh of its Natick location since the entertainment business opened there in mid-2021.
The Natick site, which drew 400,000 visitors last year, now has 10 new challenge rooms, including ones with themes allowing you to enter the engine room of a starship, climb inside a giant retro pinball machine and jump to the rhythm in a hall of mirrors. The challenge rooms offer a mix of physical and mental challenges.
Level99 is combined with a Night Shift Kitchen & Tap at Natick Mall.
As for the new Providence Place site, Level99 boasts a 40,000 square foot venue with 43 challenge rooms, plus the adjacent Night Shift Brewing Kitchen & Tap.
Town keeping an eye on the malls
Natick Town Administrator Jamie Errickson was a special guest star at the Jan. 22 School Committee meeting (about 13 minutes into the Pegasus recording), sharing a brief financial overview of the town as Natick Public Schools readies its budget for fiscal year 2025 (begins in July of this year).
Errickson warned that it’s going to be a “tight” town budget and shared numerous interesting points, but one that caught our attention related to the health of commercial properties in town, including the malls.
Errickson explained that the town is seeing local receipts, such as hotel and meals taxes, rebound since the pandemic, and Natick relies on these as revenue sources along with property taxes from residential and commercial properties. On that note, he was asked by a School Committee member about whether the town expects some commercial properties might generate more revenue as space is converted to entertainment venues that serve booze, a high profit margin offering.
Errickson said the town is watching commercial properties, including the malls, closely. “During the time when interest rates were extremely low, a lot of commercial properties refinanced to those low interest rates to typically a 5- or 10-year term, so a lot of those terms are coming up in the coming years,” he said, adding that there’s been a lot of press regarding malls restructuring their debt. “That’s what we’re more interested in learning about in the coming fiscal year and how that might impact some of the properties in Natick from a retail perspective, because that has potentially more of an impact on property valuation… and what we can tax.”
If commercial property values continue to lag residential property values or even become stagnant, that could mean even higher residential property tax bills.