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HUDSON, MA-A Connecticut-based developer wants to build a nearly one-million-sf mall on a 161-acre parcel that straddles Hudson and Berlin on Route 62 near the Route 495 interchange. SullivanHayes Cos. presented its $90-million plan at Monday night’s selectman’s meeting.

The wooded site is largely vacant except for a water tower, which would have to be moved. Paul Blazar, Hudson’s executive assistant, tells GlobeSt.com that the property is zoned for light industrial and commercial use, which would allow for the mall development, although he says it is likely the developer will need to do some form of traffic mitigation. He points out that the project, if approved, would be the town’s largest retail development, but adds that “in general the climate is pretty good” for a mall to get built at this site. “The town has previously supported a regional mall at this site.”

As Blazar notes, this is not the first time this property proved itself appealing to a potential developer. In the early 1990s Homart wanted to build a mall here and ultimately won approval at town meeting. The developer eventually walked away from the project and bought the Natick Mall and Shoppers World in Framingham instead.

SullivanHayes plan, which it calls Highland Commons, is to develop a “lifestyle” mall–an open, pedestrian-friendly shopping and dining center. The company says that 40% of the site surrounding the property will be preserved as open space. It also notes that it will include restaurant options and some of the “most desirable retailers” in the country, although the company did not specify names. “The vision for Highland Commons,” it said in a fact sheet about the project, “includes a thoughtful mix of popular national, regional and local merchants, including fashion retail, a bookstore, home furnishings and a grocery store.” The property includes land previously deemed surplus and approved for sale by Hudson.

The project is expected to create $800,000 each year in new real estate taxes for Hudson as well as more than 600 new jobs. Buffalo-based Benderson Development Co. will help develop the project.

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