Stoneridge Shopping Center is on track to receive its first major renovation in nearly 15 years.
The Pleasanton Planning Commission last week unanimously approved design plans from Simon Property Group to demolish the now-vacant Sears building and parking garage the company owns at the mall and replace them with a movie theater, grocery store, a lifestyle health club, an outdoor courtyard, and new retail and restaurants.
City officials said it's unclear when Simon will begin work on the revitalization project. For now, the former Sears site on the eastern edge of the mall remains empty and appears largely untouched since the department store shut down in January.
When asked to comment on the forthcoming renovations and the construction timeline, a Stoneridge spokesperson said, "As we continue to advance the transformation of the former Sears site at Stoneridge Shopping Center, there are a number of factors at play. Since city approval was only recently granted, it is too early to share specifics."
Under the now-approved design application, Simon proposes to demolish the 176,000-square-foot former Sears storefront and 1,189-stall parking garage and replace them with almost 256,000 square feet of new multi-use retail and recreation space.
The additions would include three new 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. Simon officials told the city they are still working to secure a health club tenant, and if that falls through, they are interested in pursuing a possible hotel in that building instead -- though a hotel switch would require separate review by the City Council.
Other key aspects of Simon's proposal include adding back only 110 street-level parking spaces -- resulting in a net reduction of 1,104 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.
The planning commissioners, confirming the early support of the concept with minor design modifications they expressed during a public workshop on the proposal two months ago, voted 4-0 to give final approval to Simon's project on April 24, with Chair Nancy Allen absent from the meeting.
All told, Simon project would represent the first major renovation at the 40-year-old mall since the Cheesecake Factory and P.F. Chang's restaurants were built in 2005.
There is no new housing contemplated as part of the current project. It is unclear whether this is a one-off redevelopment, or if Simon officials have other projects planned to revitalize the mall site.
But the City Council did acknowledge the speculation arising with other Stoneridge buildings, including those not owned by Simon, by adding a Stoneridge Mall planning framework to its new two-year work plan.
The priority project for city staff is described as "based on redevelopment interest in the Stoneridge Mall area, develop a planning framework that outlines the community's expectations, allowed uses and public amenities."
Stoneridge Shopping Center renovations, when they begin, will be the latest example of construction along Stoneridge Mall Road southwest of the I-580/I-680 interchange. The marquee project in the area so far is the new Workday headquarters building and associated public improvements, which are nearly completed.
"The expansion of the Workday campus, and the new joint police service center will be opening in the coming weeks, and we are very excited to see the final product of a successful public/private partnership," City Manager Nelson Fialho told the Weekly.
"This project has served as a catalyst that has initiated a series of redevelopment proposals in the surrounding area including the Stoneridge Shopping Center which will expand the center with new retail, a movie theater, grocery store and fitness facility," he added.