The Solomon Pond Mall opened in 1996, making it the newest (as of 2006) enclosed shopping mall in Massachusetts. It was one of a slew of malls to sprout along the I-495 corridor from the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s, but Solomon Pond was given perhaps the best location of all. When it was constructed in 1996, the mall’s location seemed remote–in fact, it was directly across the street from the then-current home of Spooky World, a Halloween attraction whose appeal traded on their creepy remoteness (unsurprisingly, they’ve since moved), and it was located far from other retail. But with its location near the junction of I-290 and I-495 in the city of Marlborough, about 40 miles northwest of Boston, the mall was able to strategically target both the affluent and booming western crescent of suburbs of Boston while simultaneously serving as the largest mall for the Worcester area, about 12 miles to the southwest. As already noted, it was one of the forces that basically killed off what was left of the Worcester Common Outlets, and it’s larger than both the Greendale Mall and Auburn Mall combined.
For the most part, Solomon Pond is pretty much what you’d expect of a mall of its vintage and size: lots of natural light filtered through skylights, lots of fussy upper-crusty decorative trim (note how all the railings are wooden), and other relatively standard stuff in newer malls. Compared to some of the other 495 ring malls–most of which tended to be more mid-range, like the Silver City Galleria–the 900,000 square foot Solomon Pond did at least attempt to shoot for the upscale, by counting some higher end tenants (HMV instead of FYE, though they’re long since gone, replaced by a rare mall outpost of local indie record chain Newbury Comics). The anchor tenant roster is relatively average: JCPenney, Sears, Macy’s (which was a former Filene’s), and Regal Theatres.
This is pretty boring, I know, but Solomon Pond completes the Worcester story. Prangeway had cake here to celebrate the mall’s fifth birthday in 2001, and I once arrived in the movie theatre parking lot in 1998 to find it blanketed with thousands of tiny plastic flies, but that’s the true extent of Solomon Pond drama.