In 2019, the City Council approved plans for mall owner, Simon Co., to knock down both the closed Sears store and the parking structure next to it. In its place will go a multi-screen movie theater, a grocery store, a large fitness club, restaurants and new retail along with an outdoor courtyard. Buildings will be two stories and connected by a second-story walkway.
Sears totaled 176,000 square feet, while the approved projects total 256,000 square feet. Nearly half of that is targeted for the lifestyle health club (125,000 square feet). Simon reps told city officials that if they fail to land a health club tenant, they may modify plans to build a hotel instead. Given that the Bay Club is a mile away across Interstate 680 and 24 Hour Fitness also has a major facility nearby in Hacienda Business Park, landing the health club likely is an uphill battle.
The project is a key step toward creating a walkable neighborhood because the mall’s south parking lot also is designated for high-density residential. Speaking with Pleasanton traffic engineer and Deputy Director of Community Development Mike Tassano, he noted that the plan for the mall parking lot is 400 units, but developers can potentially receive a 20 percent bonus up to 480 units. They will need that, to make it pencil, because initial plans call for very expensive under-ground parking. That will be second apartment complex near the mall.
Across the Springdale Drive, Workday has the under-utilized shopping center with the JC Penney home store under contract for another office complex. Tassano said that the Workday real estate team started talking about 1 million square feet there and then cut it back to about 600,000. When Tassano pointed out that either number would trigger the requirement to build another Stoneridge Drive bridge over Interstate 680, the plan dropped to 360,000 square feet.
Workday opened its six-story corporate headquarters next to the West Dublin/Pleasanton BART station in May. It totals 410,000 square feet. Workday executives have committed to continuing to grow in Pleasanton, believing its strategic location allows them to recruit and retain type of talented workers they need. It’s a reverse commute from the inner Bay Area and BART makes it an easy ride for workers preferring to live in San Francisco, Oakland or Berkeley.
We spoke during the holiday shopping season and I was asking how Stoneridge Mall Road could possibly accommodate the traffic. Mike pointed out that they don’t design for the 10 percent exception such as the holiday season (imagine how many lanes I-580 and Stoneridge would have to be to accommodate that season with the outlet mall).
The traffic model used to evaluate the Costco project impacts on Johnson Drive across the freeway, already included the 400 residential units at the mall. Tassano expects the trip generation from the office will be similar to the existing retail, although office uses effect morning and evening rush hours, while retail can be spread out more through the day with heavier traffic on weekends. Given the under-performing shopping center, the city is planning a detailed traffic study once plans are firm and submitted.
Given the traffic on Stoneridge Mall Road, the residential and Workday projects both are likely to have their main entrance/exit off of Springdale Drive (Kaiser’s facilities are on the west side). Just what signals and lane expansions that will be required will be part of the traffic studies.
I reached out Stoneridge officials and their marketing agency spokeswoman Delaney Berreth said they had no updates on starting date or status at this time.
The City Council is scheduled to consider the revised EIR for the Costco project at its Feb. 4 meeting. The traffic work on that project included widening Johnson Drive and the northbound onramp to I-680. It did not trigger the second bridge on Stoneridge. Tassano said the city continues to collect traffic fees on new projects so there will be the money to build the bridge once traffic demand triggers it.