Bellingham is a town in Norfolk County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 16,332 at the 2010 census. The town sits on the southwestern fringe of Metropolitan Boston, along the rapidly growing "outer belt" that is Route 495. It is formally a part of the Boston–Cambridge–Quincy metropolitan statistical area, as well as the Providence metropolitan area.
The town had never experienced any large growth until 1993, when Wal-Mart opened a store along Hartford Avenue (route 126), near the 495 interchange. This opened the doors to an explosive growth, with major retailers like Home Depot, Barnes & Noble, Staples, Gap, Old Navy, Regal Cinemas, Chili's, Michael's, Game Stop, Whole Foods Market, DeMoulas' Market Basket, A.C. Moore, Party City, and Outback Steakhouse to sign long-term leases. After the closure of Newbury Comics, a Verizon Wireless and Coldstone Creamery (now Supercuts) opened in the Charles River Center (however, Newbury Comics reopened in the same plaza in September 2010). In December 2006, Decathlon Group closed its doors in the Crossroads Center, opening up 30,000 s.f. of available space, now occupied by Bob's Discount Furniture store. Most recently, the town has been in talks with S.R. Weiner of Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts to develop a 1,150,000 square foot "lifestyle center" to be called the "Shoppes at Bellingham" that would include upscale shops and restaurants like Crate & Barrel, Williams-Sonoma, or Legal Sea Foods; hotels, and office space on North Main Street behind Home Depot. The buildings will primarily be one level and encourage pedestrian traffic, have lush landscaping, and restaurants with outdoor dining facilities. While it is common for "lifestyle centers" to have accessible parking close to the stores, a large parking structure is planned for the rear of the property. Although not yet in development, planning is underway for a new highway interchange and rerouting of Route 126, and Phase One of the project was to have opened in late 2008 or early 2009. There have been numerous talks and meetings between the Bellingham Planning Board and the developers for the Shoppes, as concerns about traffic have been voiced by numerous residents and businesses. Despite the economic downturn in 2009, plans for the Shoppes continue as the developers await construction of a new highway interchange, currently scheduled to begin in Fall 2018..