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Mall at Chestnut Hill Seeking Permits to Add Restaurants

Owners of the 40-year old space are hoping to upgrade its exterior and add up to 795 new restaurant seats.

Lately, Route 9 in Newton has been a busy area of retail expansion, renovation and new construction.

Now, it looks as though the Mall at Chestnut Hill is hoping to join in on the commercial corridor upgrade.

According to Planning Department memos on the city's website, the Mall at Chestnut Hill is seeking permits to add additional restaurants as well as upgrade the building's façade

The Board of Aldermen's Land Use Committee is scheduled to hold a public hearing on this proposal tonight, Nov. 13. The meeting will be held in the Aldermanic Chamber at City Hall and starts at 7 p.m.

The documents indicate the owner of the mall, WMACH, Inc., is looking for special permits that would allow them to add up to 23,300 square feet of restaurant space, or up to 795 new seats. This would involve converting up to 15,300 square feet of existing retail space in the middle of the mall as well as adding 5,700 square feet by "bumping out" a portion of the mall's southern façade.

Roughly 2,200 square feet of outside, patio seating would also be added.

To view the proposal as well as the Planning Department documents, click the .pdf to above.

The 40-year-old mall, which is managed by Simon Properties, currently includes four restaurants in its main, middle section. If the proposed permits pass, the retail center could have up to seven restaurants in the main part of the mall. 

Two Bloomingdale's stores anchor the mall and also include two restaurants. 

As of now, there are not any tenants slated to fill the new restaurants. But according to the Planning Department documents, the proposed special permits would be valid for up to three years.

In addition to the added restaurants, the owners are also looking to make some changes to the mall's southern façade, including new architecture that would "modernize" and "soften" the exterior. New "active" storefronts that face Route 9 would also be added to this part of the building.

Renovations to the main entrance are also proposed as well as a new sign for the mall, according to the Planning Department documents. A sidewalk would also be added to the area in front of the expanded restaurants. 

Aside from the special permits needed to renovate the space, the owner is also looking for parking waivers for the site. As indicated in city documents, the Planning Department has some concern about the "open-ended" parking waiver as well as the possibility of traffic impact on Route 9. 

In addition to the Mall at Chestnut Hill, the nearby Chestnut Hill Shopping Center is also undergoing an expansion and renovation, with a new Sports Club/LA Fitness Center set to open this winter, and a Cinema de Luxe. 

Across the street, development at the Chestnut Hill Square site continues, with a Wegmans supermarket and several restaurants already slated for the space. Meanwhile, the Atrium Mall, formerly owned by Simon, has been sold to Bulfinch Cos. and will soon be converted a medical and office space known as the Atrium Center.

What restaurants would you like added to the Mall at Chestnut Hill? Tell us in the comments section below!

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