Stoneridge Mall owners submit plans for new cinema, retail, health club at Sears site

Planning Commission holding workshop on proposal Wednesday night

Initial architectural drawing shows overhead look at proposed renovations for the eastern side of Pleasanton's Stoneridge Shopping Center, replacing the now-vacated Sears site. (Image courtesy of Simon Property Group)

Simon Property Group has unveiled its plans for redesigning the eastern edge of Stoneridge Shopping Center left vacant with the Sears store now closed.

A subject of much public conjecture in Pleasanton ever since Sears Holdings' financial uncertainty began making national headlines in recent years, Simon confirmed its preferred proposal by submitting a design review application with city planners last month.

The plans, subject to final city approval, call for tearing down the Sears building and parking garage in order to add a movie theater, grocery store, a lifestyle health club, and new retail and restaurants.

Other key components of Simon's proposal include adding back only 78 street-level parking spaces -- resulting in a net reduction of 1,251 spots at the mall, with the loss of the Sears garage -- as well as closing off six of the nine driveway openings onto Stoneridge Mall Road, a move that city planners consider a significant improvement over current traffic safety and circulation conditions.

There is no new housing contemplated as part of the current proposal. It is unclear whether this is a one-off redevelopment, or if Simon officials have other projects planned to revitalize the mall site.

The Pleasanton Planning Commission is set to hold an initial review of Simon's application as part of a public workshop on Wednesday, with no final decisions scheduled to be made that night.

City officials anticipate the proposal could move toward public hearings by midyear, at the earliest, according to community development director Gerry Beaudin.

When asked for comment on the redevelopment plans, Simon officials offered a statement from mall manager Jeff Chen: "We are looking forward to presenting our exciting redevelopment ideas for the Stoneridge Shopping Center in Pleasanton at Wednesday night's Planning Commission meeting."

With the new application, Simon eyes the first major renovation project at the 40-year-old mall since the Cheesecake Factory and P.F. Chang's restaurants were built in 2005.

The revitalization focuses on the Sears building left vacant when the now-bankrupt company closed its Pleasanton department store last month -- itself a previous add-on to the mall, constructed in 1995.

Simon proposes to demolish the 178,000-square-foot former Sears storefront and 1,189-stall parking garage and replace them with 258,000 square feet of new multi-use retail and recreation space.

The additions would include three new, two-story buildings for retail stores, with exterior walkways connecting to both floors of the mall.

A fourth new building would include space for a 23,000-square-foot specialty grocery market and two restaurants on the ground floor and a roughly 40,000-square-foot movie theater on the second floor.

The final new building would feature a 125,000-square-foot lifestyle fitness facility with a restaurant space, adjacent to Stoneridge Mall Road.

The only replacement parking contemplated for the project area is 78 surface-level spaces south of the health club.

That would leave the mall with 5,360 spaces -- an overall reduction of 1,251 spots -- after losing the Sears garage. City officials said that count would put the mall at least 348 spots short of the total required by parking standards in the developer agreement between the city and Stoneridge, but they also point out that the city has discretion to consider a lesser parking ratio, if appropriate.

Also as part of the proposal, Simon would reconfigure the existing driving and parking areas to close off all but three of the driveway openings onto Stoneridge Mall Road, as well as create new pedestrian and bicycle access lanes along the inner side of the Stoneridge Mall Road loop.

The plans do not consider any new apartment housing, an addition long speculated to come to the Stoneridge Shopping Center site -- although city staff do note that four sections of land at or around the mall property, including one immediately south of the Sears site and another next to the West Dublin-Pleasanton BART Station, have been earmarked as "housing opportunity sites."

Wednesday evening's work session is designed to allow planning commissioners to provide initial feedback to city staff and the developers in a public setting before the application is finalized.

Key discussion points are expected to include the site design, traffic circulation, parking and building architecture.

Simon representatives would then work to finish the application in light of the input and direction from the commission. If the meeting goes well Wednesday, public hearings could follow as soon as late spring or early summer, according to Beaudin.

The commission's regular meeting is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the city council chamber at the Pleasanton Civic Center, 200 Old Bernal Ave.

In other business

* The commission will review and making a recommendation on the final draft of the city's Trails Master Plan.

* Commissioners and city planning staff will create a list of land-use and planning priorities to forward to the council for consideration as part of its 2019-2020 work plan.

* They will also consider an application from the city to change the land-use designation (to public) and the zoning (to public and institutional) for the property at 4363 and 4377 First St., a commercial site the city acquired Jan. 31 for around $2 million, adjacent to Lions Wayside Park and the Firehouse Arts Center.

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20 people like this
Posted by Raymond
a resident of Valley View Elementary School
on Feb 25, 2019 at 3:51 pm

It is great to see investment by Simon Property Group for Stoneridge Mall. Bringing commercial operations that cannot be replaced by online shopping (like gyms, groceries, restaurants, and theaters) is a great strategy to boost foot traffic to the mall. I just hope this doesn't get squandered by slow-moving city bureaucracy and NIMBYists. The longer we delay this project, the greater the risk of this mall falling out of relevance.

21 people like this
Posted by S.R.
a resident of Laguna Oaks
on Feb 25, 2019 at 4:00 pm

Improving the mall to be a more desirable destination and at the same time reducing parking by 1251 slots does not seem like a good plan to me. It used to be impossible to find parking at the mall between Thanksgiving and Christmas. As the mall has gone downhill this has changed but improving it and adding retail, restaurants and a movie theater should revitalize it. If parking is an issue it will hurt business. Almost every shopping and entertainment location in the area has a parking issue. Why would the city allow another project to go forward without requiring sufficient parking?

7 people like this
Posted by Carol
a resident of Birdland
on Feb 25, 2019 at 5:32 pm

Anyone have any guesses as to what the specialty grocery market will be?

22 people like this
Posted by Stoneridge Native
a resident of Stoneridge
on Feb 25, 2019 at 6:55 pm

Stoneridge Native is a registered user.

I agree with S.R. This new area sounds great except for the proposed parking.

Just as video killed the radio star, if not planned correctly parking will be the death of this mall. The lower Nordstrom lot is already BART-abused. The Sears garage was the mall's last fast alternative to find easy parking. With that gone, the installation of a movie theater and gym is a recipe for disaster as pedestrians are forced to park in outlying business lots like Workday and Blackhawk Networks and dart across the already super busy Stoneridge Mall Loop.

I want my mall to succeed but let's be realistic. Pleasanton is the suburbs. Wheels survives via government subsidies, not ridership. BART only carriers those who don't already live in the area to the site. Cars are suburbanites main means of transportation. People don't carpool when they Christmas shop. Make this developer "pull an Apple" and add a sufficiently-sized parking structure that goes subterranean two or three levels so we don't have to look at it but know it's there. Please plan responsibly.

10 people like this
Posted by Mike R.
a resident of Dublin
on Feb 25, 2019 at 7:38 pm

This mall needs this bad! It needs an entertainment type of anchor along side Nordstrom and key restaurants like
cheesecake factory. It would be nice to incorporate a more centralized food court area as well while we are at it. Parking as of right now isn't the end of the world but could use more enforcement with Bart riders.

As with any mall during the holidays parking is a nightmare. When have you ever gone to Westfield SJ or walnut Creek during the holidays and didn't dread the parking situation? You deal with that for a couple months to preserve our retail. They can create shuttles that run to outer areas or be creative like that. I would rather that than no mall in 10-15 years because businesses fell victim to the online world yet again. Walk a little, get your steps in and enjoy the scenery!!

8 people like this
Posted by Frankie
a resident of Alisal Elementary School
on Feb 26, 2019 at 10:02 am

Frankie is a registered user.

This mall is going down hill due to lack of security particularly in the parking lots. Make sure this is considered especially for women at night, and provide lighted covered walkways at different places running throughout the parking lots to the perimeters. Some covered parking is needed due to rain. Maybe carports with solar roof panels like built at really large asphalt lots to provide weather protection and reduce heat radiating from asphalt. Shelter for elderly, physically challenged family and purchased will be appreciated.

11 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Feb 26, 2019 at 12:46 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

A new cinema? We had a theater complex and lost it. There are 35 screens available between Dublin and Livermore, all plenty close enough. There are proximity rules to get major new films as well; Regal could be too close. Why do we need a theater and what will it play?

11 people like this
Posted by Patriot
a resident of Birdland
on Feb 26, 2019 at 2:02 pm

If waiting for this is like waiting for Costco, it will be a long time! Why does Pleasanton operate in slow motion so often?

10 people like this
Posted by Flightops
a resident of Downtown
on Feb 26, 2019 at 2:29 pm

Flightops is a registered user.

Great idea, let’s make the mall more desirable but then take away 1251 parking spaces? Who dreams this stuff up, obviously it’s a bunch of desk jockeys who never plan on shopping at our mall. Any bets on this plan slipping by the city, no mention of a Costco type gas station so MS and his band of troublemakers should be fine with this idea.

13 people like this
Posted by Janeen Rubino Brumm
a resident of Laguna Oaks
on Feb 26, 2019 at 6:36 pm

Janeen Rubino Brumm is a registered user.

I love the idea of revitalizing the mall as it is very much needed! But I can't imagine anyone going grocery shopping there. Perhaps take out the grocery store and put more parking in its place.

16 people like this
Posted by Anony
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 26, 2019 at 8:29 pm

Do we really need another cinema? When I go to Regal in Dublin, the theaters are half empty. There are enough theaters in the Tri-Valley to serve the population. Why not put in an ice skating rink? With all the families around here I would think there's pretty good demand for hockey, ice skating, and other ice sports.
Or better yet, move JCPenney Home or World Market into the Sears space and develop the nearly empty shopping plaza next to the mall into retail and residential mixed use. The added tenants would benefit the mall and allow Workday and Safeway workers to live close to work.

4 people like this
Posted by In the Know
a resident of Canyon Creek
on Feb 27, 2019 at 10:28 am

The new theater is purported to be backed by Salman Khan, a mega movie star in his home country of India. He has already launched a chain of theaters in India called Salman Talkies and is eager to bring his chain to the Tri-valley to serve the burgeoning Indian population in the area.

9 people like this
Posted by Frankie
a resident of Alisal Elementary School
on Feb 27, 2019 at 10:34 am

Frankie is a registered user.

Lets support a renovation and stop second guessing the developers about their business. Go to the city meetings to hear the presentation, ask questions, give input and get info. No wonder nothing gets done here. But let’s not drag this out with endless protests. Otherwise, lets raze the site and build housing and move on.

4 people like this
Posted by Scrooge McDuck
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 27, 2019 at 4:49 pm

Anony, why would an ice rink be a good use of this space? There's one just north of 580 in Dublin off San Ramon Road, not even a mile from the mall.

7 people like this
Posted by Anony
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 27, 2019 at 8:40 pm


Do you realize that the Dublin rink serves Pleasanton, Dublin, San Ramon, and Danville? There is fierce competition for lesson time amongst all the groups wanting to practice (think hockey, figure skating, ice dancing, etc.)

Not only would a Pleasanton ice rink alleviate some of the demand, but also serve as a nice holiday destination for ice skating during Christmas break.

4 people like this
Posted by John P
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Feb 27, 2019 at 10:39 pm

Simon Property Group is one of few the premier operator/owners of malls in the United States. They understand the risks of underparking more than any government official or the general public. Let them get this new addition done quickly as suggested by other readers. A great asset for Pleasanton, plenty of part and full time jobs for local citizens.

2 people like this
Posted by Kurt Becker
a resident of California Reflections
on Feb 28, 2019 at 5:09 am

Kurt Becker is a registered user.

As the mall has gone downhill this has changed but improving it and adding retail, restaurants and a movie theater should revitalize it. If parking is an issue it will hurt business.

8 people like this
Posted by Grumpy
a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on Feb 28, 2019 at 7:58 am

Grumpy is a registered user.

This isn't going to revive the mall one bit. Movie theater goers might eat at the mall but they don't shop there otherwise. Gym goers don't go into the mall. Neither do people with groceries in the car melting. Besides, the high end grocery won't be a major name (Whole Foods is too new and close); the movie theater won't be a major name (Regal is too empty and close). Moreover, movie goers take three hours of parking, which will only make things worse. And the concept of having lots of this be outdoors is only good for half the year.

Nothing is going to bring back Pottery Barn, PB Kids, William Sonoma, Gymboree, Janie and Jack, or the half a dozen other boarded up storefronts.

I suppose it isn't our business, since we don't own the mall and they're entitled to not provide shopping experiences that we want. But it does seem like an unusual way to score an own goal.

They should have just put the Costco there and killed two birds with one stone.

8 people like this
Posted by Map
a resident of Del Prado
on Mar 1, 2019 at 3:53 pm

I guess nobody remembers when the Sharks wanted to build a 4 ice rink complex off of stoneridge where Chrysler dealership is now but I think the city wanted too many freebies out of that deal and the Sharks walked. Dublin rink is too crowded, Fremont rink is too far and the Livermore rink is pretty cheesy , give us something the locals can use, forget that movie theater and another grocery store.

Like this comment
Posted by George
a resident of Bonde Ranch
on Mar 28, 2019 at 7:20 am

Dave and Busters would be great at this location.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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