When Sears went bankrupt and closed the Pleasanton store in December, that cost the regional mall one of its five anchor stores. It also created the opportunity to completely repurpose the space make the mall more attractive to shoppers and visitors in search of the “retail experience.”
Plans submitted to the city and reviewed by the Planning Commission show the 178,000-square-foot store and the two-story parking garage being demolished and replaced by 258,000 square feet to include a grocery store, a huge lifestyle sports club (125,000-square-feet) and movie theater plus three two-story buildings for retailers and two restaurants.
The additional restaurants build on the strategy that Simon has pursued since purchasing Stoneridge. Simon’s first renovation in 2005 added The Cheesecake Factory and P.F. Changs, greatly improving the food offerings.
Two more restaurants plus a movie theater will create a reason to go to Stoneridge other than to buy a retail item. It’s interesting that these will not be the classic enclosed mall spaces, but connected with walkways.
It will be interesting to see what boutique grocery store operator Simon is able to attract into the planned 23,000-square-foot space—less than half of the space of a major supermarket.
The plan also reduces parking by 1,251 spots, a move that city planners do not seem concerned about. It also calls for closing six of the nine driveways off Stoneridge Mall road, something that should help traffic circulation as the retail center is increasingly surrounded by office buildings including Workday’s new corporate headquarters.
There’s no request for additional housing in the plan although the mall site includes two sites that are zoning for “housing opportunity.”
If you want a quick snapshot on how challenging the homeless population is in the Bay Area, consider these stats from CalTrans.
CalTrans District 4 contains the Bay Area. Five years ago, it spent $1,464,064 million removing homeless encampments on the public right-of-way. Two years later, it was $2,386,436 and in 2017, it was $3,651.664. Notably, only one other CalTrans districts, in 2017, spent as much as District 4 did five years before.
It demonstrates just how the extreme Bay Area housing shortage and the resulting sky-high rent prices are effecting people here.