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NATICK, MA-After months of speculation, General Growth Properties finally came forward and made it official: the Chicago-based developer wants to expand the Natick Mall.

General Growth made a formal presentation of the overall plan to the town’s planning board, Sarkis Sarkisian, the town’s community development director, tells GlobeSt.com. “It’s very exciting,” he says, adding that it’s not just the added tax revenue that makes town officials here happy about the plan. “It’s important for the mall to maintain its strength for the MetroWest.” Sarkisian also points out that in the area’s real estate market it is retail that is the only segment not struggling.

The Natick Mall is currently 1.6 million sf. The expansion involves taking over the 300,000-sf former Wonder Bread Factory, which currently houses Tech Commons, a failed telecom hotel. Sarkisian says that the expansion would also take over another acre of the site.

The developer needs to get the site rezoned before they can move forward with the plan.

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