Sunday, July 10, 2016
The death of malls were greatly exaggerated.
Silicon Valley is changing so fast right now that it's kind of blowing my mind. No matter what part of a city I roll into - they are knocking things down and putting up condo's. It astonishing frankly. It has to be a historic building boom. I've lived here almost all my life, and I've never seen anything like it. Every time I turn around, an empty lot lot is being snapped up. It doesn't even have to be empty really.
I hadn't been into old downtown Fremont for a while. Mr S. and I decided to go have dutch baby pancakes today at my favorite place for that. We roll into the parking lot and I was immediately shocked that they had torn down a Nations Hamburger joint that had been there forever. Just last week I saw a that a developer had bought the parcel that a church was on, just to knock it down and put up condos'. Which I thought was crazy. These guys have to be getting pretty desperate now.
Since we've known the owners and staff of the restaurant for a really long time I was super curious what they were doing with that parcel.And when I found out - it was the same story I've heard in 2 other cities. They are putting a wildly popular upscale Santana Row type mall. This is the type of mall where stores are at the bottom, housing is up top. Santana Row is also the place that hosts that fancy car show every month. It's actually a really cute mall all year round. and they have some pretty decent restaurants.
It's sort of ironic because Santana Row was built to replace an Old Town and Country mall. Those were the strip malls we had when I was growing up. And in the distance on the right, you can see some old buildings from Fremonts' Town and Country mall in the distance. It might be the last one alive. But I'm not sure.
I know of three cities that are revitalizing their down towns this way right now. Cupertino's old Valco Mall. Santa Clara is allegedly doing this out in the old marshland by 237. And now Fremont.
The picture below is more near Milpitas. There used to be an old dead mall here with a Mervyns anchor store.. You can see in the right of the shot they are starting to build. From the shape of the construction I would not be surprised at all if this had shops on the bottom, housing up top.
So, there will kinda still be malls, they are just evolving into something a little more livable.
Put a little differently. Thank gawd for old dead malls. They pretty much hold the biggest land parcels available. They ~are~ sort of putting the malls back, but as multi use malls. I think it's a pretty clever say to solve a housing problem really.