By Tim Hunt
Some good news amid JCPenney bankruptcyUploaded: Jul 7, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic certainly has accelerated trends that already were developing in the retail business.
Amazon’s business has soared as homebound people discovered how convenient it can be to use the retail giant. And weak retailers started closing stores and some filed for bankruptcy. The venerable JCPenney fell into the latter category.
It’s closing 154 stores across the country including the outlets at the Sunvalley Shopping Center in Concord and at the West Valley Mall in Tracy. Sunvalley was one of the earliest malls in the East Bay (along with Southland in Hayward) and now has lost two of its anchors (Sears was another original anchor tenant).
For Stoneridge Shopping Center in Pleasanton there was some good news. The JCPenney store there will continue to operate. A closure would leave the mall with one anchor, Macy.
The Pleasanton mall already has plans to redevelop the former Sears store and now presumably developing plans for what to do with the Nordstrom site after the Seattle-based retailer announced the Pleasanton store would not re-open after the pandemic shutdown. Of course, whether JCPenney can regain its footing and find a profitable spot in the market is an open question for the retailer that dates to 1902.
Incidentally, the Taubman Co., which owned and operated Stoneridge until selling it the current owner, Simon Co., owns Sunvalley. The two companies had agreed to a $3.6 billion merger before the COVID-19 pandemic struck and shut down all of their malls. Simon has sued to nullify the deal and the two major mall operators now are set to duel it out in court.
Meanwhile, Amazon continues to broaden its real estate holdings in the Tri-Valley. It purchased at 300,000-square-foot office building in Dublin earlier this year and leased the more than 600,000 square feet that was formerly the Circuit City warehouse in Livermore last year. If you happen to go by Costco in San Leandro on Davis St., you will see one of its last-mile facilities next to the Costco gas station.
One day I observed an Amazon 18-wheeler unloading its trailer while several of the small Mercedes Sprinter vans headed out for neighborhood deliveries. As I read a round-up of stories from the San Francisco Business Times’ sister publications across the country, it’s notable to how many similar real estate deals Amazon is doing across the country.