The Watertown Mall sits across the street from the Arsenal Project, and next to where the new hotel will be built, and that suits the management of the Watertown Mall just fine.
The Watertown Mall, which is home to Target and Best Buy, along with several other stores and the Registry of Motor Vehicles, would benefit by more people coming to that area of Arsenal Street, said Patricia Stenson, manager of the Watertown Mall.
The owners of the new hotel, Boylston Properties, also owns the Arsenal Project (formerly the Arsenal Mall) has plans to upgrade the mall and add restaurants. The group has also purchased the Verizon Facility located near Nichols Avenue but has an address of 480 Arsenal Street. It could become office space.
“I really think it is a good thing,” Stenson said. “Improvements and enhancements to Arsenal Street are better than vacant buildings. It will bring more people to the area.”
Stenson said she has long been in favor of bringing a hotel to Arsenal Street. The recently-approved Residence Inn by Marriott will go on the former Charles River Saab dealership, which sits next to the Watertown Mall.
The Watertown Mall dates back farther than the Arsenal Mall. In 1975, Watertown Mall replaced a BF Goodrich tire factory, Stenson said. The Arsenal Mall opened in 1983.
The original anchor stores at the Watertown Mall were Bradlees – a discount department store – and Stop & Shop, Stenson said. The grocery store was in the spot now occupied by Best Buy and Target sits where Bradlees used to be.
Of the original tenants, only Papa Gino’s remains in the Watertown Mall. Some of the other original stores still exist, but moved when Target expanded, including the Gap Outlet, Marcou Jewelers and Snip Plus Salon.