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About this blog: I am a native of Alameda County, grew up in Pleasanton and currently live in the house I grew up in that is more than 100 years old. I spent 39 years in the daily newspaper business and wrote a column for more than 25 years in add...  (More)

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Transforming Stoneridge mall

Uploaded: Jan 12, 2023
Stoneridge Regional Shopping Center stood as the gem among centers in the East Bay for decades since it opened in 1981.

Originally opened with Macys, Emporium and JC Penney as major anchors, it expanded with two more majors in new wings—Nordstrom and Sears and Emporium went out of business but Macys took over its space. All seemed great until shopping habits shifted before the pandemic shutdown. Sears stores were struggling across the country.

Management could not change the negative trend and the Pleasanton store along with others across the country were shuttered. Simon Co., the owners of Stoneridge, received approval from the city for a plan to tear down the store and the parking structure and build an outdoor shopping center that mixed restaurants, a compact grocery store (think Trader Joe’s) and entertainment similar to what makes up CityCenter in San Ramon.

The pandemic then hit and Nordstrom closed its Pleasanton store. The company decided to keep its downtown Walnut Creek store open as well as its Newpark Mall location in the East Bay. That’s despite the impressive demographics of Pleasanton and the surrounding Tri-Valley communities.

What that meant for Stoneridge is that it was down to two majors and one, JC Penney, was staggering. It took a combined effort from mall owners Simon Co. and Brookfield, to take over 161 JC Penney stores and distribution centers in the United States. They took on more than $500 million in debt in that transaction to save anchors in their centers.

That leaves Stoneridge, owned by Simon, Macys, and 300 Venture Group that bought the JCPenney site last year, figuring out how to move forward.

The city is intently interested in two fronts: from a tax revenue although the sales tax revenue continues to fade; and from meeting the state-imposed zoning requirement for potential residential development. The mall land covers about 75 acres, most of it a sprawling parking lot. The city faces a deadline this month to submit its plans to the state to zone land for more than 5,900 units over the next eight-year period.

In the 2012 regional cycle, 10 acres at Stoneridge was rezoned for residential at up to 40-units per acre, but there’s been no takers until recently when Simon Co. is processing a plan for 360 units there.

The San Francisco Business Times reported that under current proposals it could be zoned for up to more than 2,000 homes. The city staff is recommending 65 units per acre while the property owners are asking for 80 units. New state law allows a density bonus for building affordable housing that could take the number to as much as 2,160 units with the 80-unit zoning.

The planning commission considered the proposals last night and the council will render a decision later this month to meet the state deadline. Assuming the numbers work—a major challenge—look for the mall area to be transformed over the next number of years.

Local Journalism.
What is it worth to you?


Posted by Jake Waters, a resident of Birdland,
on Jan 12, 2023 at 10:32 am

Jake Waters is a registered user.

To be expected, I know we do the majority of our shopping outside of Pleasanton by frequenting Valley Fair and Walnut Creek, to include entertainment and dining opportunities. Pleasanton has become a bedroom community, and the city definitely needs new sources of income.

Interestingly, the new deputy city manager has an extensive background in this category of real estate development. This location will most undoubtedly be constructed with dense low income housing. The fix is in, and to think that Matt Sullivan was worried about our new Costco and the traffic issues is quite comical. I would anticipate the hiring of more police and fire. Water costs will continue to rise as new these units continue to be built.

“Keep building," the ghosts of the ‘Winchester House' kept saying.

Posted by Karl A, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Jan 12, 2023 at 12:36 pm

Karl A is a registered user.

I think a more accurate phrase to use would be Pleasanton has “devolved" back to being a bedroom community.

In the 70's, we had to drive to Livermore or Dublin, or even Southland / Eastridge / Sun Valley malls to do shopping beyond buying groceries.

After Stoneridge opened, the city continued to be against any sort of additional major shopping south of 580, while Dublin and Livermore continued to do so.

So now we get state mandated housing with no commercial development to support the new homes that will be built.

Posted by Avery Shein, a resident of San Ramon,
on Jan 14, 2023 at 8:06 am

Avery Shein is a registered user.

A good call as mega-sized shopping centers are now becoming passe unless they can generate massive amounts of retail revenue.

Building subdivisions will ease the housing crunch and there should be an allotment of below-market residencies made available for lower income families.

Pleasanton is kind of like Fremont. It is an ideal residential site for newly arrived immigrants from China and India.

As far as shopping conveniences, integrating some strip malls within the area with a major bank, a Safeway, CVS, and some other basic shopping amenities will easily suffice.

Posted by Belinda Michaels, a resident of Danville,
on Jan 14, 2023 at 8:52 am

Belinda Michaels is a registered user.

Whenever we drive through Dublin and Pleasanton, we see so much open space that could be utilized for new housing.

Another alternative would be to convert the Stoneridge Mall into a large homeless enclave serving Alameda, Contra Costa, and Santa Clara Counties.

Posted by Brent Peters, a resident of Blackhawk,
on Jan 14, 2023 at 9:03 am

Brent Peters is a registered user.

While Pleasanton is a somewhat nice residential community, Dublin is more reminiscent of Milpitas (both have county jails and a plethora of strip malls) and any further development should be targeted in this area.

Posted by JJ, a resident of Birdland,
on Jan 14, 2023 at 10:08 am

JJ is a registered user.

Stop letting foreigners buy property. And turn the mall into an animal shelter. For all animals to live out their lives away from neglect and abuse.

Posted by Ming Zhao, a resident of another community,
on Jan 14, 2023 at 10:35 am

Ming Zhao is a registered user.

Like Milpitas and Fremont, the Dublin/Pleasanton area should be further developed to accommodate the growing Asian population from India and mainland China/PRC.

Perhaps Congressman Swalwell could expedite the process with his key connections in Congress and abroad.

Posted by Sanjay Singh, a resident of another community,
on Jan 14, 2023 at 11:25 am

Sanjay Singh is a registered user.

America has become a multi-cultural nation comprised of many different ethnicities and non-Christian religions.

Ideally this newly proposed residential subdivision in Pleasanton will promote the emergence of smaller ethnic communities and shopping malls reflecting the vibrant cultures of India, China, and Viet Nam.

Efforts should also be made to accommodate immigrants from Mexico, Venezuela, and Nicaragua via low-cost housing.

There is also plenty of open land along Highway 680 to fulfill this goal.

The Statue of Liberty and its timeless slogan endorses these profound American ideals

Posted by Julie Wentworth, a resident of Walnut Creek,
on Jan 14, 2023 at 1:02 pm

Julie Wentworth is a registered user.

"America has become a multi-cultural nation comprised of many different ethnicities and non-Christian religions."

It is also becoming a nation of mixed-race offspring which will hopefully end racism in America.

As a former Christian woman who married a Muslim man, we will be raising our children as per the doctrines of his time-honored faith.

My conversion upon marriage is no different than that of the Catholics and Jews when it comes to raising children.

Posted by Florence Young, a resident of Danville,
on Jan 14, 2023 at 2:23 pm

Florence Young is a registered user.

Another option would be to turn the mall into a giant multi-cultural food court and lease the remaining interior space to an Indian casino with a concert venue.

Posted by Jennifer, a resident of Danville,
on Jan 14, 2023 at 5:03 pm

Jennifer is a registered user.

Turn Stoneridge into a concert hall. You can shop online (on your phone) while enjoying good music, killing two birds with one stone.

Posted by Bryan Sanford, a resident of Walnut Creek,
on Jan 15, 2023 at 8:47 am

Bryan Sanford is a registered user.

Other possibilities might include turning Stoneridge into a zoo or another jail facility.

Posted by Nebuchadnezzar, a resident of San Ramon,
on Jan 16, 2023 at 7:57 am

Nebuchadnezzar is a registered user.

How about a small international airport to cater to the migrants? I know, I know, the noise pollution,protected habitat, not enough space, land use permits, federal government. Approvals etc. Are valid objections, but we gotta think out of the box!

Posted by Ron Bevaqua, a resident of another community,
on Jan 16, 2023 at 10:46 am

Ron Bevaqua is a registered user.

An airport at Stoneridge is not needed to accommodate migrants wishing to settle in Alameda/Contra Costa Counties.

A bus terminal/hub with a shuttle service from their point of entry would easily suffice and there is plenty of interior square footage within the mall to provide temporary housing, social services, and a food bank.

Times are tough all over the world and America provides the best opportunity to escape religious, political, and gang-related turmoil.

We must learn to think beyond ourselves and strive to lend a helping hand to those less fortunate.

It is the Christian way that many conservatives have seemingly overlooked.

Posted by Jessica Yang, a resident of another community,
on Jan 16, 2023 at 12:37 pm

Jessica Yang is a registered user.

There is so much open space in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties.

Why not develop more housing for impoverished migrants and wealthy expatriates from China?

Contra Costa County is home to many enterprising commercial and residential developers.

President Biden and Congressman Swalwell would heartily endorse this concept.

Posted by Jake Waters, a resident of Birdland,
on Jan 16, 2023 at 12:42 pm

Jake Waters is a registered user.

I'm inspired by the rest of you with your good ideas, so I have one more: bring the Oakland A's here. Use the stadium for concerts in the off season and dinning all year around. We have BART that is set in place. The Pleasanton A's- a great sound, a great look. I see a World Series in that future.

Posted by Jennifer, a resident of Danville,
on Jan 16, 2023 at 2:28 pm

Jennifer is a registered user.

I like the idea of bringing the Oakland A's here! During the off season would be a great time to bring back Day on the Green concerts! Except the tickets won't be $13.50 for 4-6 "A" list bands all day long. Good times!

Posted by Jason Weathers, a resident of Walnut Creek,
on Jan 16, 2023 at 2:55 pm

Jason Weathers is a registered user.

The A's considered resituating to another Alameda County site awhile back but the concept fell through.

Howard Terminal or perhaps Emeryville have more of an Oakland vibe than the Pleasanton or Dublin areas.

Then maybe the Raiders could come back a few decades from now. In Las Vegas the Raiders have been relegated to visiting team status as the majority of game attendees are predominantly fans from the actual visiting teams.

This also happened in San Diego when the Chargers were still there and some fans still consider the Chargers a visiting team even though Inglewood (LA) is now their home field.

But before anything can move forward, both John Fisher (A's) and Mark Davis (Raiders) have to go....the worst owners in professional sports.

Posted by Dave, a resident of Highland Oaks,
on Jan 16, 2023 at 8:46 pm

Dave is a registered user.

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